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Monday, December 29, 2008

Alonso could start driving for Ferrari

Two-time F1 champion Fernando Alonso could start driving for Ferrari in 2011 or even sooner if Kimi Raikkonen doesn't shine, Italian sports paper La Gazzetta Sportiva reported on Sunday.

Gazzetta wrote without attribution that a deal had been made that could bring Alonso to Ferrari in 2011 on a contract of three or four years, although both sides are keeping their options open.

Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo was vague about the team's long-term driver options when chatting with journalists at a recent holiday dinner, the paper reported.

"We have Massa and Raikkonen under contract for the next two years," Montezemolo said. "As for the future, we'll see. Alonso is a great champion, but life is long. He's young."

Gazzetta indicated that the pressure is on Raikkonen, the 2007 world champion, to deliver. Ferrari officials declined to comment on the report.

Last month, Alonso opted to stay with Renault, signing a two-year contract extension that will keep him at the French Formula One team through 2010.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Desafio Internacional das Estrelas

Rubens Barrichello took overall victory in the International Challenge of Go-Kart Champions on Sunday, 30 November, a charity race organised by his Brazilian compatriot and fellow Formula 1 star Felipe Massa.

Barrichello held off stiff competition from a field that included Michael Schumacher, Massa and Lucas di Grassi – as well as a host of big names from other motorsports such as NASCAR's Jeff Gordon.

The annual event took place over two races and in front of a 12,000 strong crowd at the Ingleses kart track in Florianopolis, Brazil.

Barrichello won the first race from di Grassi, but only after his ex-Ferrari team-mate Schumacher span out from a promising second position.

Massa then took victory in race two but couldn’t stop Barrichello taking the overall honours; a fifth place finish was enough for the Honda driver to pip di Grassi by a single point in the final standings.

Barrichello and di Grassi are two of the drivers fighting over a drive at Honda next year, Barrichello having raced there since 2006 while di Grassi took part in an evaluation test at Barcelona earlier this month.

The pair fought wheel-to-wheel in both races, but it was the veteran of 270 Formula 1 races who finished on top.

Last year’s event winner Schumacher could only manage eighth overall, after a combination of his mistake in race one and a loose exhaust early in race two ruled him out of contention.

Other ex-Formula 1 drivers present were Luciano Burti, Antonio Pizzonia, Ferrari test driver Luca Badoer and Force India’s third driver Vitantonio Luizzi.

pic 1: Felipe Massa International Challenge of Go-Kart Champions - All the Drivers
pic 2: Filipe massa

pic 1: Vitantonio Luizzi
pic 2: Tony Kanaan

pic 1: Michael Schumacher
pic 2: Felipe Massa International Challenge of Go-Kart Champions - Luca DiGrassi, Rubens Barichello and FIlipe Massa

pic 1: Felipe Giafonne
pic 2: Felipe Massa International Challenge of Go-Kart Champions - Start

pic 1: Drivers on the pick up truck
pic 2: Michael Schumacher kart

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Toyota F1 - Next to Go?

Toyota, the car manufacturer, has announced a record loss of $1.7 billion, or 1 700 000 000 dollars, over 2008. Of course, this puts their future participation in Formula 1 under doubt, especially since they have been long complaining about the standard engine formula, as well as not achieving the expected and also desired results (had their first calculations worked out, they would have been world champions by now).

Toyota F1 leaving would result in no less than 16 cars. Since Mr. Ecclestone wants at least 20 cars on the grid, rumours has it some top teams (ie Ferrari and McLaren if 18 cars, BMW and Renault if 16 cars) would get to run a third, non-constructor-points-scoring, car in order to reach the desired field of 20 cars. This would give these teams no huge advantage in the constructors situation since one pre-determined driver would be the 3rd driver (ie Luca Badoer in Ferrari, Pedro de la Rosa in McLaren, etc.) would not be able to score points for their respective teams. We could, though, for the first time in modern F1, perhaps ever, see a podium with drivers from one single team, if this new suggestion comes true. I hope it does.

2009 is looking less and less certain by the day - I'm thinking BMW will come out victorious, or Renault. McLaren as an outsider. Ferrari won't be close, I sadly believe.

Peace out, bruvvas!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Race Of Champions ROC Schumacher Vettel and Loeb

Loeb, the five times World Rally (WRC) champion, kept his composure despite fierce pressure from fellow finalist, Britain’s David Coulthard, to become the champion of champions.

With a best-of-three format for the final, Frenchman Loeb took the honours in the first race to put the pressure on the newly retired F1 driver. Coulthard responded in spectacular fashion, giving the massive British crowd hope of a home victory by piloting to victory in the second heat, driving the KTM X-Bow.

With the stage set for a thrilling finale, the two driving greats turned the famous football stadium into a adrenalin-fuelled amphitheatre; slipping and sliding the purpose-built ROC Cars to a nail-biting finish with Loeb taking the honours by just 0.3 seconds.

Team Germany retained their title in The Race Of Champions Nations Cup at Wembley Stadium. The reunited pairing of seven-time F1 champion, Michael Schumacher, and F1’s youngest ever race winner, Sebastian Vettel, never looked troubled as they powered undefeated through the heat events before beating Team Scandinavia in the final.

The Race Of Champions, which brings together the best stars of motorsport from around the world, descended on Wembley Stadium for the second year, bringing its purpose-built tarmac race track and selection of high-performance cars to transform the football pitch to an adrenalin-fuelled amphitheatre. Taking the fight to the victorious German duo was the Team Scandinavia pairing of Le Mans 24 hour winner, Tom Kristensen and former German touring car (DTM) champion, Mattias Ekstrom.

pic 1: Wembley Stadium
pic 2: Race of Champions 2008 at Wembley Stadium. Lewis Hamilton does a few donuts in his F1 car

pic 1: Race of Champions 2008 at Wembley Stadium. Christmas-themed cheerleaders
pic 2: Race of Champions 2008 at Wembley Stadium. The full drivers' line-up supporting the Institute for Brain and Spinal Cord Disorders (

pic 1: Michael Schumacher Race of Champions 2008
pic 2: Michael Schumacher and Vettel Race of Champions 2008

pic 1: Michael Schumacher Vettel Germany Race of Champions 2008
pic 2: Michael Schumacher Race of Champions 2008

pic 1: Michael Schumacher Race of Champions 2008
pic 2: Michael Schumacher and Carroll Race of Champions 2008

pic 1: David Coultard DC
pic 2:David Coultard DC

pic 1: Lewis Hamilton
pic 2: At the Race of Champions 2008 at Wembley Stadium. Team USA's Carl Edwards and Travis Pastrana

pic 1: Race of Champions 2008 at Wembley Stadium. Terry Grant completes a whole lap of Wembley on two wheels
pic 2: Race of Champions 2008 at Wembley Stadium. Sébastien Loeb after winning the Race Of Champions tournament

Monday, December 8, 2008

Formula 1 Teams for 2009

As I see it, there are a few possible outcomes. I will show everything in percentages. First of, what will happen for 2009, the amount of teams to race:

10 teams (incl. newly purchased Honda): 30%
9 teams: 35%
8 teams: 20%
7 teams: 5%
0 teams: 10%

0 teams? Yes, you read it right. I think it's a 10% chance that there will be no Formula One Season in 2009. Like the NHL lockout, just Formula 1. They take a year off because there's not enough teams.

Put it this way: Red Bull with Toro Rosso drops out, as well as Renault or Force India. That would leave 6 teams on the grid. 12 cars. The others would probably agree to take a year off and fill the line-up for 2010 instead.

So, which teams are in for it? Percentages show the likelihood of them competing in 2009:
McLaren: 80%
Ferrari: 85%
BMW: 85%
Renault: 75%
Toyota: 85%
Toro Rosso: 60%
Red Bull: 65%
Williams: 75%
Force India: 70%
Purchased Honda team: 40%

I will re-arrange that to enlist them in a "Likelihood of 2009 participation" rank:
1. Ferrari - 85%
1. BMW
1. Toyota
4. McLaren - 80%
5. Renault - 75%
5. Williams
7. Force India - 70%
8. Red Bull - 65%
9. Toro Rosso - 60%
10. Purchased Honda - 40%

I hope this provides a fair overview: My friends, do not be surprised if the 2009 Formula One Season is cancelled.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Williams and Red Bull/Toro Rosso?

So, now that Honda has taken off, people are starting to worry. It seems there are three teams in trouble financially. Red Bull is the likeliest, which means we'd lose another 4 drivers, giving us 14 cars on the grid in 2009. That's utterly crap.

Williams are not looking totally certain either, but I think they will be in it for 2009.

Teams that seem uncertain:
Red Bull
Toro Rosso

Teams that have dropped out:

Teams that I have not heard about:
Force India

Teams that have re-confirmed their 2009 participation:

I will make a list similar to the driver rumours, for teams, in the coming days! Keep your eyes open

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Honda's Dead

They've quit Formula 1. Economy fucked them up. Japan stinks, I suppose. Toyota, the other Japanese team, has confirmed that they are staying, though. I wonder what Ross Brawn is thinking now? "I left Ferrari, I joined the crappiest team in the field to make them good, and the team ceased existing before I had a chance to do anything. Crikey!". I also wonder what Jenson Button is going to do. Negotiate with Toro Rosso? Honestly, Button is a great driver. Sebastién Buemi and Jenson Button in Toro Rosso? Why not?

Race of Champions soon. Watch it. Don't know when but it should be soon. Mattias Ekström will try to defend his 2007 win (in which he beat Michael Schumacher, as well as Sebastian Loeb (in a Citroën rally car) among others). I'm hungry now. I want some food. Readers, feed me with comments. Please? Do you readers even exist? I feel so lonely!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Investing, Money in Formula 1

The fireworks and fanfare accompanying the F1 Australian Grand Prix in March mark the beginning of another season of 17 races for the world's most high-tech cars. They also mark the beginning of another season of staggering spending. F1 burns through cash faster than the cars guzzle fuel and by the end of the season the teams, sponsors, circuits and rights holders will have spent around £2bn. But, believe it or not, this year costs have been cut.

Nothing in F1 comes cheap. Team budgets soar up to £200m per year with typical engine development and construction costing around £50m. The engines epitomise engineering expertise revving to over 19,000rpm and coming close to 1,000bhp. They are the core cost involved with producing the cars with a complete vehicle having material value of around £1.3m. Even the steering wheel is far from average costing a cool £13,000.

The cars lining up on the grid at Melbourne are the fruits of hundreds of hours of windtunnel and track testing which costs each team around £25m per year. So even though the world's biggest carmakers, including BMW, Renault and Ferrari, own their own teams, it's easy to see why they concluded that spending had accelerated out of control. F1 teams may give the impression of being awash with cash but every drop of capital counts.

Until recently the 11 F1 teams had a raw commercial deal from the sport receiving between them only around 23% of its £500m annual spoils with the remainder ending up in offshore companies with shadowy ownership.

A group of rebel carmakers threatened to pull out of F1 if it didn't become more transparent and if the teams' take didn't increase. Their window of opportunity was the expiry at the end of 2007 of the Concorde Agreement - the contract binding the teams to race in the sport. They got what they wanted.

In May last year the manufacturers signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the sport's supremo Bernie Ecclestone agreeing to race in 2008. Their F1 fortunes were substantially increased. Prior to the deal the teams' only source of funding from F1's commercial rights was 47% of its £190m television rights revenue. However, under the MOU the teams now receive 50% of the underlying profits from all revenues including the annual estimated £70m from corporate hospitality, £90m from trackside advertising and £145m from race hosting fees. The catalyst for this was a change in ownership of F1.

In November 2005 a majority stake in F1 was sold to venture capital company CVC which immediately set to work on building the bridges between the sport's factions. The new owner's end game is clear: cashing out and making a profit. But to do this required all the valuable F1 stakeholders remaining involved. The manufacturers were offered board seats on F1's ultimate holding company and respected non-executive directors were appointed including advertising boss Sir Martin Sorrell and Nestlé chief executive Peter Brabeck-Letmathe. In a nod to increased transparency CVC also bought F1's key offshore firms and brought them under one umbrella. The sale to CVC was a master-stroke for Ecclestone, the silver-haired 76 year-old son of a Suffolk trawler-man who has single-handedly built up F1 into a global sport and has cashed out over £2bn from it. As I discovered on being hired by him five years ago, Ecclestone is a softly-spoken man whose deals are done on a handshake. However, CVC's hand was one he was keen to grip and for good reason.

From 2009 F1 cars will include mandatory devices capable of energy-recovery and re-use from braking. The practical implication of this will be that the massive investment piled into F1 research and development will enable these mechanisms to be made smaller, quicker and lighter for usage in road cars. It also has obvious environmental benefits and from 2011 the sport will introduce bio-fuels. As a prelude to this the Honda team will be running sponsor-free this season with the car instead emblazoned with an image of the earth comprised of the names of fans who donate to an eco-friendly scheme.

The sport's short-term future seems secure but CVC's acquisition has also meant that long-term growth is now a necessity. In January I revealed in the Sunday Express newspaper that the company had taken out a £1.5bn loan to partly finance its purchase of F1 saddling the sport with a staggering debt unlike any it has previously had. To support the repayments, F1 has little choice but to move more races into untapped areas of the globe in order to increase revenues. This move has already begun.

Earlier this year Ecclestone signed a contract for Abu Dhabi to host an F1 race from 2009, paying an estimated £15m per year for the privilege. South Korea will join the calendar the following year with Singapore, India, South Africa, Russia and Greece all expected to speed onto the F1 scene soon. Although it's almost 60 years-old, the F1 world championship is only just beginning to rev up.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Driver Rumours - Part 2

This list is updated. Re-sexed. Read it.

Rubens Barrichello: Doesn't look too bright for him. Seems his only chance now is Toro Rosso. He has confirmed the links to them, but he's nowhere near a contract as I see it. Chance of race seat 2009: 20%
Pedro de la Rosa: Force India, as well as Sutil and Fisichella, have once more confirmed their seats for 2009. de la Rosa seems to be out of it. Sorry mate! Chance of race seat 2009: 15%
Takuma Sato: He's the likeliest "old guy" to take one of the two seats at the moment. Not from pure skill, but from finances. Chance of race seat 2009: 60%
Bruno Senna: It's looking quite sure, I am confident Honda will line up with Button and Senna for 2009. Chance of race seat 2009: 75%
Sebastién Bourdais: Two words: Sorry, mate. He's not going to make the cut. He'll be back in the US before you know it. Chance of race seat 2009: 25%
Sebastien Buemi: The most radical change from my last post. He's pretty much been confirmed, they're talking about him as if he's got a contract penned already. Chance of race seat 2009: 95%
Paul di Resta: Just, no. No. Chance of race seat 2009: 2%
Jenson Button: Just, yes. Yes. Chance of race seat 2009: 98%
Lucas di Grassi: He, if anyone, would stop Senna from taking a seat at Honda. I doubt it, though. Chance of race seat 2009: 25%
Mark Webber: He's injured, damnit! Injured! Broken leg! He won't be walking unaided until February, according to the plan. If that's delayed, he won't line up in Australia for the season opener. He'll return to the cockpit later in 2009 in that case, for sure. Chance of race seat 2009: 100%. Chance of race seat Australian Grand Prix: 85%
Brendon Hartley: This young New Zealander would be the reasonable temporary Webber replacement, would Webber not make it in time. Chance of race seat 2009: 15%

Away from race seats, we have some new names coming up. Surprisingly, this is in Ferrari. Young Italian Mirko Bortolotti drove faster than Ferrari's more or less regular test driver Andrea Bertolini around Fiorano earlier this week. Bortolotti is merely 18 years old and would be a reasonable Raikkonen replacement for 2011.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Rubens Barrichello, Pedro de la Rosa and Takuma Sato

Rumours are running like crazy about these three, among others. This list will provide an overview of what's going on with our drivers!

Rubens Barrichello: Seems to be on his way out, has been linked to Toro Rosso due to seemingly being dropped by Honda. Chance of race seat 2009: 20%
Pedro de la Rosa: Experienced McLaren test driver, currently testing for Force India. Strong rumours put him in a FI race seat, instead of Giancarlo Fisichella. Chance of race seat 2009: 40%
Takuma Sato: Ex-Super Aguri and Honda driver, one of the most charismatic and loved by the viewers. We'll never forget Canada 2007 where he overtook Alonso. In the run for a Toro Rosso seat, best Toro Rosso driver during the current 3-day test. Chance of race seat 2009: 60%
Bruno Senna: Testing for Honda and linked to Toro Rosso as well. Confident of landing a seat. Likely to land a seat. Young gun on his way up. Chance of race seat 2009: 70%
Sebastién Bourdais: Current Toro Rosso driver, not certain to hang on. If he goes, Takuma Sato will probably take his place. Strong contender though, but I personally hope Takuma Sato will get this seat. Chance of race seat 2009: 40%
Sebastien Buemi: Other young gun, in the race for a Toro Rosso seat just like Sato, Senna and Bourdais. Looking good. Chance of race seat 2009: 70%
Paul di Resta: McLaren's DTM driver, speculated to steal a Force India race seat. I doubt it. Chance of race seat 2009: 15%
Jenson Button: You might wonder why he's here, but he does not have a contract with Honda. Everything poitns to him being signed for 2009 though. If not, Toro Rosso would probably love to steal him. Chance of race seat 2009: 95%
Lucas di Grassi: Also rumoured to run for Honda. Not as likely, though. Chance of race seat 2009: 30%
Adrian Sutil: Showed well both in 2007 and 2008, in a crap car. Due to rumours regarding Force India, his seat is not 100% certain. Chance of race seat 2009: 85%
Giancarlo Fisichella: Simple, it's the same as for Sutil, just that Fisi is older and more likely to be kicked. Chance of race seat 2009: 60%

Do you think any driver is missing, albeit should be on this list? Throw his name at me, comment it or email me!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Anthony Davidson Super Aguri Season 2008

1. This is the first post dedicated to the drivers who drove in F1 2008 season. The order is followed by championship ranking - backwards. So I will start with Anthony Davidson and end with Lewis Hamilton! Posts will appear weekly to make this off season more interesting!

Anthony is obviously very disappointed that the team was unable to see out the 2008 season and beyond, and gutted not just for himself but for all of the guys at the factory who have worked so hard. It showed their great dedication and loyalty to keep fighting given the uncertainty over the future.

I think personally the first four races were very positive and he continued to build on what he learnt from his rookie season last year. After several years as a test driver in F1 he had the chance to show that he can race and to prove his speed, and he shuld be grateful to the team and Honda for the opportunity. Although it's a difficult time of the year to find an alternative option as the season is well underway. Anthony: ^I’m glad that I took the opportunity to compete again this year and strongly believe that I have unfinished business in Formula One.^

pic 1: Anthony Davidson Super Aguri Friday Free Practise Bahrain Grand Prix 2008
pic 2: Anthony Davidson Super Aguri Spain Catalunya qualification F1 2008

pic 1: Anthony Davidson Super Aguri Malaysian gp Free practise Friday
pic 2: Anthony Davidson Super Aguri Race Malaysian Grand Prix Sunday 2008

pic 1: Anthony Davidson Super Aguri Maleisya
pic 2: Anthony Davidson Super Aguri Maleisya

pic 1: Anthony Davidson Super Aguri Sunday race Melbourne Australia
pic 2:Anthony Davidson Friday Spain

pic 1: Anthony Davidson Super Aguri qualifying session Melbourne Australia
pic 2: Anthony Davidson Super Aguri qualifying session Albert Park 2008

pic 1: Anthony Davidson Super Aguri Bahrain quali F1 2008
pic 2: Anthony Davidson Super Aguri Malesya

pic 1: Anthony Davidson Super Aguri Bahrain F1 2008
pic 2: Anthony Davidson Super Aguri Bahrain Free Practise F1 2008

pic 1: Anthony Davidson Friday Test Melbourne Australia Albert Park 2008
pic 2: Anthony Davidson Friday Test Melbourne Australia Albert Park 2008

Canada, Force India and Chrill's 2009 Prediction

Canada's had to confirm they will not be hosting any Grands Prix as of immediately. It's a shame, for I love Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. I will miss it.

Force India has closed a deal with McLaren on Engine, KERS and possibly aerodynamic help. Rumours have surfaced that either Paul di Resta (Scottish DTM driver for Mercedes) or Pedro de la Rosa (McLaren test/3rd driver) would take one of the race seats in Force India. Force India, with Vijay Malliya in the front, strongly denies that McLaren will have any effect on their drivers line-up and re-confirmed Adrian Sutil and Giancarlo Fisichella for the 2009 season.

Now, to something a tad bit more personal. I'll give you my top 3 of who I think will stand as the 2009 Formula One World Champion. You'll be shocked. The following three are in no particular order:

1. Fernando Alonso (Well, he won twice, he's an amazing driver)
2. Nick Heidfeld (Okay, the team won once in 2008, but he never did..)
3. Sebastian Vettel (See, I really am nuts)

Now, let me motivate them all. If Renault gets their car going, who could possibly stop Alonso? Honestly. He was the best driver of 2008, a British poll confirmed this.

What about Nick Heidfeld? He's a great driver, if he manages to get qualifying together. If BMW manages to get KERS working properly, and Heidfeld gets qualifying working properly, then BMW might just take the step. It's well possible. Why not Kubica? Just because..

Sebastian Vettel, then. A true youngster, in a Red Bull. This is my outsider, but Red Bull could probably get quite far with a neat Renault engine (Renault gets to catch up, no?) and if they get the car good enough, with slicks and KERS and everything, there's no reason to believe Vettel will fail. Just remember him in Monza. Just keeping his car on track for the whole race, as well as dominating the race, left a huge impression on me. Outsider, yes. Impossible? Nuh-uh!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Special Post Dedicated to F1 Drivers

Special Brazilian post, just pictures no words, but comments are still welcome! ;)












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