MSC Cruises is going from strength to strength, and May 5 it announced that it will extend its global partnership with Formula 1®. They said this in Miami, on the eve of the Grand Prix™. MSC Cruises will therefore continue to be the official partner of Formula 1® for the cruise segment, until the end of the FIA World Championship in 2026.
MSC Cruises continues this partnership for all the good reasons: the ever growing interest in the Formula 1® universe around the world, and particularly in key markets for MSC Cruises, resulted in very strong results for the company and its product portfolio. The success of this collaboration between these two prestigious brands has enabled MSC Cruises to commit to further strengthen this partnership through an enriched program.
The MSC Ship Virtuosa will be your stay for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix…
As part of the agreement, MSC Cruises will position ships in ports throughout select Grand Prix™ weekends to provide a unique hospitality experience from the circuit to the ship. The first of these event weekends will take place in November, for the last race of the 2023 season, in Abu Dhabi. The MSC ship Virtuosa will spend the Grand Prix™ weekend at the port, offering motorsport fans unique accommodation, hospitality and transport packages, including VIP packages. This concept will be enriched and deployed in other destinations, with other ships, from the 2024 season onwards.
The Virtuosa has longest LED Dome at sea…
In addition, MSC Cruises is confirmed as main sponsor of the F1® Grand Prix™ of Belgium in 2023. Thus, the brand will offer, among other things, immersive entertainment for spectators in the Fan Zone. Further main sponsorship deals will be unveiled shortly, for further 2024 F1® World Championship Grand Prix™. Needless to say that both parties are delighted with the collaboration:
Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman of MSC Cruises (on the right) said: “Formula 1® and MSC Cruises are excellent partners on many levels. Our success is partly based on teamwork, but also on our shared commitment to lasting change. We want to shape the future of our respective industries and leave a lasting legacy for generations to come. Our two brands are evolving at the head of their industries and contributing to a lasting change. For all these reasons, we are committed to Formula 1® for the long term on a global scale. We look forward to seeing this special collaboration evolve over the years. »
Stefano Domenicali, President and CEO of Formula 1®, (on the left) said: “We are delighted to extend our partnership with MSC Cruises, as our two brands share the same commitment to innovation and excellence. This collaboration has already delivered outstanding results and we look forward to strengthening our relationship. Together we will continue to push the boundaries and set new standards in sports and hospitality. »
We suggest the Grand Prix Lovers to have a closer look at MSC Cruises and their offers!
The entire Alfa Romeo F1 Team met in Hinwil, the location of Sauber Motorsport, for their annual preseason retreat.
The drivers Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu there took part in an unconventional test drive of the Tonale Plug-In Hybrid Q4. They were involved in a reactivity test on a track in which a series of “doors” were progressively illuminated by sensors which, with the passing of the vehicle, progressively turned on and determined its route.
The iluminated cones formed the “portals” or “doors” which formed the test circuit with many curves…
Indeed the grip in the both narrow and wide corners was masterful, and the acceleration between corners is nothing short of amazing. Know that this Tonale accelerates from 0 to 100 km in merely 6,5 seconds. Soon we will take this beautiful Tonale for a longer test drive, so stay tuned on these pages!
Alfa Romeo has launched an exceptional initiative at the 40th edition of the re-enactment of the “Mille Miglia”, the “most beautiful race in the world” in the famous words of Enzo Ferrari.
It features a truly exceptional crew, let us present it here for you:
Francesco Pirozzi, a member of body shop at the Giambattista Vico plant in Pomigliano, and Cristina Posta, an assembly line employee at the Cassino plant, will represent Alfa Romeo Manufacturing at the race on board a 1900 Super Sprint.
Francesco Pirozzi is 46 and has been gaining professional experience in the body shop at the Pomigliano d’Arco plant since 2005, especially on the geometry of the Alfa Romeo 147 and 159 models. An avid fan of the Alfa Romeo brand, today he is entirely dedicated to the Tonale project, which he has followed since its inception.
Father to a nine and seven-year-old, he is passionate about cars, electronics and mechanics.
Cristina Posta was born in Pontecorvo (FR) in 1984 and has worked on the assembly at the Cassino plant since 2018.
Due to her family ties, she had an emotional connection to Alfa Romeo even before working there and always wanted to be part of the Group.
Outside the factory, Cristina loves to wake up early, spend time in the kitchen and garden, and help her parents with the family agricultural business.
This crew embodies the inclusive spirit of this brand, which can rely on a cohesive and passionate team in every department.
We can only applaud this initiative. Alfa Romeo wants to engage its customers just like its own employees, offering visceral experiences like the “1000 Miglia” and remaining faithful to the Italian sporty DNA which has made it an icon since 1910.
The brand invites its fans to “Join the Tribe”…
Alfa Romeo’s 50 vehicles once again make it the most well-represented brand at the race. These include models from the brand’s private collection which are normally on show at the Alfa Romeo museum in Arese: the 6C 1500 Super Sport from 1928, the 1900 Sport Spider from 1954 and the 1900 Super Sprint from 1956.
Your servant has very fond memories of this iconic Mille Miglia. Years ago, I was invited now years ago together with my father by Mercedes Benz to form a crew at the wheel of the brand with the iconic star… it was legendary, to be then in the same team with the legendary Mille Miglia winner, Stirling Moss!
I know a lot about automobiles, their history, present and future, and I am passionate about it. But when the dynamic Citroën/Stellantis PR department, notably Press & Communications Officer Wim Willems, invited me to join the AG2R Citroën Team for the E3 Saxo Bank Classic, run on Friday, March 25, I grabbed of course this occasion with both hands. The cycle sport has reached a level of mechanical sophistication which equals that of Formula 1 Racing, and then we have said nothing about the medical/physical aspects of the cycle competition, the training, the food/diet balance, etc.
It proved to be a truly wonderful and interesting experience, and you will read our story here, where I learned a lot, and I am delighted to share it with you.
Hans Knol ten Bensel
I drove the evening before the race to the Van der Valk Hotel in Ghent, where I was received by my host Julien Duval. He has been himself a road racing cyclist since 2008, and has been with the AG2R La Mondiale team since 2017. He stopped racing at the end of last year, and now guides with expertise the guests Citroën has invited to see their team racing.
He led me first to the different buses, housing the bikes, the team cycling champions, the food, the kitchen and everything a team needs. Very impressive…
I first climbed with him in the bus where the cycles are stored and prepared. The team has not less than three bikes per team rider for the race, and there are no less than 12 mechanics in total, who meticulously prepare the cycles before each race and training, taking them fully apart to the last nut and bolt, inspecting, adjusting and reassembling them. I read the letters “BMC” on the frames. “It stands for Bike Manufacturing Company, and it is based in Switzerland”, Julien explained. Indeed, Founded in 1994, BMC has from the outset focused on creating speed. From its headquarters in Switzerland, BMC has spent decades building the cycle sport, pushing technologies to their limits. This clearly shows…
BMC has won races of all varieties, defined new categories, as well as maintained its reputation as a technological and engineering powerhouse. BMC wrote its way into history by supplying bikes for the world’s top athletes, winning races such as the Tour de France, the Time Trial and Road World Championships, as well as the Olympic Road Race. In 2021 the brand suppors the AG2R CITROËN TEAM. What I saw in the bus was the flagship “Teammachine SLR”, but BMC has also at the disposal of the team its “Aero Timemachine Road” and the time trial specific “Timemachine” models.
I show you here a photo of the “Teammachine SLR.” It has indeed won every major title that a bike can win including Monuments, World Championships, Olympic Games and the Tour de France. Gone for instance are the classic brake cables, disk brakes are now the norm, and everything is now commanded hydraulically. The brake & shift levers are built by Campagnolo, as are the cassette, the chain, the pulley wheel. Also the front and rear brakes are “Super Record Discs” stemming from the Italian manufacturer.
The super important dérailleur is the “Super Record EPS 12 speed” also built by Campagnolo. The wheels are Campagnolo “Bora” wheels. The tires are coming from Pirelli, and are P Zero / Cinturato’s.
The frame, the fork, the seatpost, handlebar and stem are built by BMC.
By optimizing tube shapes, core centre stiffness, revising the carbon layout and utilizing a brand-new one-piece bar and stem cockpit, BMC has updated the bike for 2021 and beyond.
The all-important physical condition and food…
Did you know that the AG2R CITROËN team has not less than four doctors at its disposal, on top of that two physiotherapists, and next to that a psychologist & mental coach and a psycho practitioner? Then we have said nothing about the nutrition: there is a nutritionist and a micro-nutritionist and there are no less than five cooks!
Indeed, nutrition and drinking is most important. Did you know for instance that competition cycling makes one lose about 1 liter of sweat per hour and one burns about 75-90 grams of carbohydrates per hour? So the competitors have to drink at least 600 ml of a kind of Isotonic Sports Drink per hour, divided into 4x 125 ml (every 15 min). In this way, one has the right support for fluids, as well as a replenishment of carbohydrate reserves.
After two to three hours, it is necessary to take in some solid food, and so energy bars come in the picture. Of course, in the race, most often one has no time to do this, so the competitors take so-called “energy gels”, which is a highly concentrated carbohydrates syrup. Drink gels are mostly preferred, as they are mixed with the right amount of water, so it is ready to drink.
So our host Julien led us through the bus with the food and the energy drinks, and also took care of us during the race the next day, where he drove us to the important vantage points, to take along these energy drinks for the necessary ravitaillement of the team racers…
After the finish, a so-called recovery drink is also necessary, and indeed one should thoroughly re-hydrate. After two hours a good meal is also de rigueur…
Besides riding in the race itself, training is also most important. The team has no less than six sport assistants and two osteopaths.
The AG2R CITROËN TEAM… and the race.
As said, on the race day we were driven by Julien himself to the start of the E3 Saxo bank Classic race at Harelbeke, then to several vantage points on the course.
The race was won by Wout van Aert, with his team mate Christophe Laporte arriving at the finish hand in hand alongside him, but graciously allowing Wout van Aert to win the race.
The (E3 Harelbeke) is by the way an annual cycling race with start and finish in Harelbeke. The 130 miles long race is actually a preparation race for the Tour of Flanders. The route is shorter, but many of the mythical climbs of the Tour of Flanders are also found in the E3 Saxo Bank Classic.
The conditions with the famous Belgian cobblestones and steep climbs are very similar. The route takes us through East Flanders including 12 hills. Since 2012 the route includes the mythical “Muur van Geraardsbergen.” Spectacular indeed!
Last but not least, let’s turn to the AG2R CITROËN TEAM. Everything started in 1992, when Vincent Lavenu made his dream of creating a professional cycling team a reality. In 1997, AG2R Prévoyance joined in this great project as a co-partner alongside Casino before becoming its main sponsor in 2000. From 2008 to 2020, the cycling team wore the colors of AG2R LA MONDIALE. Since January 2021, they have been writing new pages in the team’s history, now under the name “AG2R CITROËN TEAM”. Indeed, then Citroën became a partner, and according to Vincent Cobée – General manager of CITROËN, “the first year of partnership was a year of learning which allowed us to discover the incredible universe of cycling.”
It was also incredible for us, and we learned a lot!
We let you look at the photos here, and just discover a unique world with us!
Competition is embedded in the MINI DNA: the greatest feats in the brand’s history were achieved on the rally track. And the foundation for all this was laid by an exceptional female driver. In May 1962, the classic Mini was added to the list of winners of an international rally event for the first time. In the international Tulip Rally – from the Dutch municipality of Noordwijk to the French Riviera and back again – Pat Moss achieved the best time over the distance in the classic Mini Cooper.
60 years later, MINI celebrates the talent, courage and passion of this British woman racing driver with a fascinating special edition. The Pat Moss Edition of the MINI 3-door and MINI 5-door, limited to just over 800 vehicles, not only commemorates the launch of the classic Mini’s extraordinary sporting career, it also marks a pioneering achievement for female power in motorsports. Success in the Netherlands turned the classic Mini, Pat Moss and her co-driver Ann Wisdom into enduring heroines in a discipline otherwise dominated by significantly larger vehicles and entirely the preserve of men.
The Pat Moss Edition will be available from May 2022 for the MINI Cooper S 3-door and the MINI Cooper S 5-door and the MINI John Cooper Works. The exclusive design of the edition models cites the racing history of the British premium brand as well as the sporting careers of Pat Moss and Ann Wisdom.
It also incorporates MINI product innovations such as the Multitone Roof. What is more, an additional variant of the Multitone Roof is available for the first time in the Pat Moss Edition. The colour gradient of the vehicle roof extends from Chilli Red to Melting Silver and Jet Black. With the innovative paint finishing process fully integrated in production at the MINI plant in Oxford, this will be the first time a second colour variant has been realised. Minimal deviations in the colour pattern caused by changing environmental conditions ensure that every MINI with a Multitone Roof has the character of a unique specimen ex works. On the new edition models, the charismatic roof paintwork is combined with the body finishes Pepper White or Midnight Black metallic and also red exterior mirror caps.
A stylised tulip symbolises the first rally victory: it appears on the C pillars and side scuttles of the edition vehicles along with the inscription “Pat Moss”. The wheel hub covers also feature an exclusive design with a graphic which is based on the outline of the typical Dutch flower and the MINI wordmark.
The key facts of the 1962 Tulip Rally appear below the side scuttles on the front side panels: the route Noordwijk – Monte Carlo – Noordwijk, the distance of 2 500 kilometres, the vehicle, namely a Mini Cooper, and its starting number 104. These are supplemented with the slogan that still applies to MINI to this day: “born to compete”. The tulip motif, the name inscription and the key facts about the first every rally win are also to be found on the screen-printed aluminium door sill trims designed exclusively for the edition model.
Another design element used for the first time in the Pat Moss Edition is the horizontally aligned bonnet stripe in white. The printed combination of three-dimensional numbers and letters – 737 ABL – is the registration number of the classic Mini that won the 1962 Tulip Rally, likewise recalling the historical model. Meanwhile the original signature that Pat Moss wrote on the bonnet of her car after one of her victories adorns the front apron of the edition model as a graphic imprint.
In the interior of the edition vehicles, the iconic signature on the Piano Black interior surface in the passenger area is another tribute to the revolutionary woman rally driver, who passed away in 2008. The sports leather steering wheel bears the edition emblem in the form of a tulip graphic which appears on the clip of the lower spoke. The abstract depiction of engine pistons moving up and down serves as the motif for a graphic on the interior surface on the driver’s side. With bars of different heights forming the shape of the letters “M” and “W” – standing for “Moss” and “Wisdom” – they symbolise that perfectly coordinated duo that caused a sensation in the rally scene for so many years.
The MINI Pat Moss Edition is a tribute to a female racing pioneer, MINI’s rally history and true team spirit. One of the remarkable details of the first rally triumph for the classic Mini is the fact that Ann Wisdom insisted on taking part in the Tulip Rally despite being pregnant at the time: she went on to provide her team mate Pat Moss with unerring navigation guidance over the 2 500 kilometre route.
Mossie and Wizz – as they were known in the paddock – formed a successful duo for seven years. The two women had the courage to compete in a male-dominated sport – and they brought about fundamental changes, too. The younger sister of Formula 1 driver Stirling Moss, Pat Moss also won the Sestriere Rally in Italy in 1968, achieved a podium finish in numerous other international competitions and was crowned European Ladies’ Rally Champion five times. Ann Wisdom is considered the first professional woman co-driver in the history of rallying. As successful sportswomen in their own right, the two viewed their courageous foray into a male-dominated domain with typical British understatement. “We didn’t see ourselves as pioneers back then,” said Ann Wisdom years later. “We were just entering a rally.”
Pat Moss and Ann Wisdom paved the way for an extraordinary career for the classic Mini. In 1964, 1965 and 1967, the British small car secured outright victory in the Monte Carlo Rally. Decades later, MINI became the dominant brand in the world’s toughest endurance rally, achieving overall victory in the Dakar Rally four times in a row from 2012 to 2015. Two more overall victories followed in 2020 and 2021.
The Rally of Haspengouw last Saturday proved a magnificent opener of the Kroon-Oil Belgian Rally Championship in Sint-Truiden and the fruit region.
The iconic “classic” was dominated from start to finish by Frenchman Stéphane Lefebvre in his Citroen C3 Rally2. Gino Bux, the revelation of the match, and winner of the 2021 Stellantis Motorsport Rally Cup came in second.
DG Sport Compétition proved that the Citroëns C3 Rally2 were more than up to the competition…
Not only did Stéphane Lefebvre and Xavier Portier storm to an outright win, team mates Jos Verstappen and Kris Botson, Maxime Potty and Renaud Herman, and Richard Pex and Johan Findhammer also made quite an impression. Four cars on the start, four at the finish, with excellent results.
“Last Saturday DG Sport Compétition had a wonderful team day”, stated team principal Alain Georges. “Not only did we perform well, but each one fulfilled his or her role impeccably.”
Stephane Lefebvre came to win and succeeded. But also his teammates with less – and sometimes no – experience contributed to this success. Besides the actual results, we are also very pleased with the magnificent team spirit.”
Team presentation in Brussels in the old premises of Von Thurn und Taxis, now “Maison de la Poste”: from left to right: Andy Malfroy (co-pilot), Xavier Portier (co-pilot) and Stéphane Lefebvre (Pilot)
This week in the “Maison de la Poste” the team was introduced that will use the colors van Citroën Racing will defend this year in the Kroon Oil Belgian Rally Championship 2022. The experienced Stéphane Lefebvre will be at the wheel of the C3 Rally2 from DG Sport, taking up the challenge against the fierce competition. This weekend he is already participating in the Rally of Haspengouw. He never drove in this event, but that only makes the challenge only bigger and more exciting.
The C3 Rally2 is in shape, more than ever…
Since 2017, Citroën Racing has put its many years of experience in rallying at the service of customers and has put in more than 15,000 test kilometers to increase performance, add more reliability and still better handling to the C3 Rally2 drivers and teams.
Jean-François Grandclaudon of Citroën Racing explains: «Since its introduction in 2017, we have worked hard to offer our customers ever faster cars, suitable for all types of pilots and always with a view to reducing operating costs.
In the past two years, the car has changed a lot and our efforts have paid off with national and world titles claimed in recent years in major championships.”
DG Sport is on high alert at home and abroad.
DG Sport has been a loyal partner of Citroën Racing for years and is looking forward to participate in the international WRC2 and the Belgian BRC championship with the Citroën C3 Rally2.
“Thanks to the support of Citroën Racing, we will start with the duo Stéphane Lefebvre – Xavier Portier in the BRC this season. This is a perfect complement to his involvement with Andy Malfoy in the WRC2 Championship.
By participating in both championships, Stéphane will be able to keep up his rhythm and build up even more experience.
Although we are currently only confirming our presence on the first two meetings of the BRC, we aim to be at the starting grid of at least seven rallies to be there and to take home the championship title,” said Alain Georges from DG Sports.
From left to right: Andy Malfroy (co-pilot), Stéphane Lefebvre (pilot), Xavier Portier (co-pilot) and Jonathan Vercellino (Director Marketing Citroën, Belux)
Stéphane Lefebvre is looking forward to the Belgian season.
“I am looking forward to the start of the Kroon Oil Belgian Rally Championship 2022 this weekend. I like to come to Belgium, all the more because I have already won both the Rally of the Condroz and of Ypres. With a slight handicap in terms of terrain knowledge in Sint-Truiden, I know I will have to drive a perfect first loop and I will be forced to take some more risks than my opponents. But this won’t stop me from approaching this rally in the same way as everyone else: we intend to make our mark from the very beginning in the race,” warns Stéphane.
He admitted to us that in the meantime he has a great love for the Belgian rallying scene and their iconic rallies.
Stay tuned for the Rally of Haspengouw this weekend!
We reported to you already, dear readers, about Alfa’s new Tonale, the brand’s first compact electrified SUV.
As the entire Alfa Romeo F1 Team ORLEN gathered in La Thuile, Italy, for a break to build up maximum concentration and recharge the batteries ahead of pre-season testing in Barcelona, something was bound to happen with this Tonale.
Indeed the two new Alfa Romeo drivers – Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu – made a stint behind the wheel of this well proportioned and timelessly styled Tonale. The 275-hp Plug-in Hybrid Q4 version with all-wheel drive must have proven certainly entertaining for them!
Impressed as they were about the good road qualities of this Alfa, so significant for the iconic brand, the team had come to La Thuile to focus on their strategies and objectives for the upcoming world championship. La Thuile, known as the Wild Side of Mont Blanc, maintains and preserves its characteristics as a mountain resort far away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
An ideal setting for the CEO of Alfa Romeo Jean-Philippe Imparato and the Team Principal of the Alfa Romeo F1 Team ORLEN, Frédéric Vasseur, flanked by the entire management and communications team, to prepare the next F1 season…with the Tonale setting the tune!
Arriving late last night from Nice, we report you here immediately about the wonderful driving experience with the most powerful DS9, enjoying its pure GT talents over the winding roads around Grasse and the iconic Côte d’Azur. We will soon tell you more about it.
But the gentlemen of DS Automobiles did even more than just letting us have a drive in their flagship DS9, they also unveiled in the flesh at their press conference a wonderful Supercar, with absolutely stunning looks and performance.
DS Automobiles puts their E-Formula racing experience into practice on our roads… What to think of 815 HP or 600 kW, developed by two electric motors of 250 kW in the front, and 350 kW driving the rear wheels.
Acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h is done in a fantastic 2 seconds…and the car is a beauty too!
Much more about this superfast E-“bolide” and the impressive top-level DS9 soon on these pages!
A Porsche with leadership qualities: When the distinctively designed Taycan pulls out of the pit lane and onto the racetrack in the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship, it will quickly take the lead. Porsche’s first all-electric sports car is the new safety car in the innovative electric racing series this season. The vehicle will celebrate its racetrack debut at the opening round of the Formula E season on 28/29 January in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia.
Designed to be more than just the Formula E safety car, the Porsche Tycan Turbo S` striking paintwork flies the colours of all eleven teams competing in the Championship, as well as the colours of the FIA and Formula E. It symbolizes the commitment of everyone involved in Formula E and the common path towards the future of all-electric motor racing.
At the same time, it gives a visual expression of social values such as diversity and community. The number 22 acknowledges the performance of the 22 drivers who contest the series this season.
Thanks to its driveability and safety as well as its output of up to 560 kW (761 PS), the high performance Taycan Turbo S is a very good choice in the critical role of a safety car in the only all-electric motorsport World Championship, racing in the heart of iconic world cities including London, Mexico City, New York City, Berlin, Monaco and Seoul. With Launch Control, the flagship model of the Taycan range accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 2.8 seconds and reaches a top speed of 260 km/h.
More Porsche news soon, last but not least about its Museum… Stay tuned!