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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Michael Schumacher comeback, BBC interview, on 2009.12.23


Michael Schumacher, Seven World Titles, Back In Formula 1

Michael Schumacher, the most successful driver in motor racing history, announced Wednesday that he will return to race in Formula One next year after three seasons in retirement.

The German, who turns 41 next month, who won seven world drivers’ titles in a career spanning 16 years and 249 races, has signed to drive for the new Mercedes Grand Prix team in a three-year deal.

“I was tired of F1 by the end of 2006,” Schumacher said Wednesday. “But in three years of absence I got back all the energy that I am feeling right now. I played around with motorbikes and I feel ready for some serious stuff now.”

Schumacher had been consulting for the Ferrari team, where he raced from 1996 to 2006. Last summer, when the team needed a replacement for its injured driver, Felipe Massa, Schumacher considered returning, but a neck injury from a motorcycle racing accident had not yet healed.

“The failed comeback attempt last summer gave me reason to reconsider my situation,” Schumacher said.

He said that he believed he and the Mercedes team would have a chance to win the title in 2010. He said he is returning because he was given an offer he never expected and that it came from two important sources, Ross Brawn, the director of the team, and Mercedes.

Brawn was the technical director and strategist at the Benetton team and guided Schumacher on to win his first two titles, in 1994 and 1995. Both Brawn and Schumacher then moved to Ferrari, winning a further five titles together from 2000 to 2004.

Schumacher drove for Mercedes in sports cars before entering Formula One. The manufacturer had paid for his move to Formula One at the Jordan team in 1991.

Mercedes went on to become a minority-owner of the McLaren team. But last month the company announced that it was leaving McLaren and buying a controlling interest in the Brawn team, which won both the drivers’ and constructors’ titles this year.

Schumacher will race alongside another German, Nico Rosberg, who is 15 years younger.

Schumacher will be the oldest driver since Nigel Mansell raced in Formula One in 1995, also at age 41.

“It wouldn’t surprise me if Michael challenged for another world championship,” Mansell said last weekend. Mansell won his last race, the Australian Grand Prix, at 41 in 1994.

Schumacher period of domination, before he retired in 2006 was like none before. No other driver comes close to his 91 victories, Alain Prost is second with 51 and Ayrton Senna the third, with 41.

Schumacher equaled Juan Fangio’s 45-year-old record of five titles in 2002 and went on to win two more titles in the following two years. Prost is third with four titles.

In a recent poll of 217 drivers by Autosport Magazine Senna, who earned three world titles before he died in a crash at Imola in 1994, was voted greatest driver. Schumacher came in second. Fangio was third.

Fangio, who was 46 when he won his last title, won titles with four different manufacturers.

Schumacher is now joining the team that won the title last year, but his move to Ferrari in 1996 was far bolder. Ferrari, had become synonymous with failure, and then helped turn it into a dominant winning machine.

“Schumacher reshaped the mold for the 21st-century racing driver,” the Autosport editors wrote, “combining incredible fitness with technical brilliance and good old-fashioned speed.”

But Schumacher also has a dark side. In 1997, with a single point advantage over his rival for the title, Jacques Villeneuve at Williams, the German tried to knock the Canadian off the track at Jerez, Spain, to take a short cut to the crown.

The move backfired. Schumacher’s car fell out of the race, while Villeneuve limped on to the finish and scored the points he needed to take the title. Schumacher was stripped of all his points for that season. He had won his first title, in 1994, after a collision that knocked out his nearest rival, Damon Hill, also in the last race.

In his last year in the series, under pressure from the rising star, Fernando Alonso at Renault, Schumacher tried another trick in qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix. Desperate to score pole position, he parked his car in the last corner to prevent anyone from completing their last lap. He was punished, sent to the back of the grid.

Yet his natural driving talent was matched by his strength as a team player and his understanding of how to improve the cars he drove. When things were not going well within his team or with his car, he never blamed others. He always worked to find solutions to the problems.

Schumacher is a trained mechanic and his engineers said that his input helped to improve the cars.

“To have a car in your hands, a team working with you with which you maximize your performance, and driving finally this car at the track, and just knowing and feeling that this is the maximum that you can achieve, that has been such a thrill for all those years,” he said in an interview last year. “I always was hungry for this.”

Bernard Dudot, the head of the Renault engine program in the 1980s and 1990s, and who had also worked with Prost and Senna, said Schumacher was superior to both in this area.

“We did things on the engine at that time that we would never have done — or never have developed — had it not been him,” said Dudot in an interview in 2006.

This is certainly going to help next year in a Formula One where car testing between races has been banned to cut costs. Schumacher’s input during race weekends will therefore be extremely valuable to the team to develop the car.

His public personality was not one to attract fans the way the charismatic Senna did. On television, the German can look arrogant, angry and cold.

Yet in person he is a warm, almost modest individual, aware of his failings.

“He’s the best judge of what he can do and I trust him implicitly, and he told me he can do it so I’m very confident,” Brawn said of his return. “He’s always been his own best critic.”

Published: December 23, 2009
In NYTimes

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Flavio Briatore says he was betrayed, over scandal

Former Renault Formula One team manager Flavio Briatore could lose out on at least $9.1 million a year after resigning because of a cheating scandal, company accounts show.

The 59-year-old Italian was banned for life from the auto racing series on Sept. 21 for conspiring to fix a race. He collected $7.6 million in consultancy fees from selling series television rights in Spain in 2007 on top of his $1.5 million salary. He also benefited from management contracts with drivers including Red Bull’s Mark Webber and McLaren’s Heikki Kovalainen. The team escaped with a suspended ban.

“They’ve isolated him,” Mark Borkowski, a public relations consultant in London, said in an interview. “His brand is damaged: He’s got an uncertain future.”

Briatore’s troubles extend to his other holdings. He may face a ban from co-owning English soccer’s Queens Park Rangers under league rules. He denies wrongdoing, according to Formula One’s ruling body, Federation Internationale de l’Automobile, which says he has 14 days to appeal.

This weekend is this year’s Singapore Grand Prix, the race where Briatore and Renault team engineering chief Pat Symonds conspired with driver Nelson Piquet Jr. for him to crash last year to help teammate Fernando Alonso win, according to the FIA. Piquet Jr., dropped by the team in August, and a whistleblower dubbed “Witness X” gave evidence about the plot, the FIA said.

Briatore left his post last week. The FIA then ruled drivers managed by Briatore must end their contracts with him and he will be denied access to races for life. He also manages Renault’s Romain Grosjean.

Left Without Means

“He has been left without his means to earn a living,” Carlos Gracia, president of the Spanish motor racing federation, told the newspaper As. Briatore may sue the FIA because there was no clear evidence to incriminate him and he didn’t have a chance to defend himself, Gracia added.

Briatore couldn’t be reached for comment for this story.

Renault’s removal of Briatore and Symonds helped mitigate its sanction, the FIA said. The FIA also took into account an apology by Renault and a “significant” contribution it agreed to make to FIA road safety projects.

Briatore, who entered Formula One in 1989 as commercial director of Benetton SpA’s team, has multiple interests in Formula One, some of them stemming from his friendship with series Chief Executive Officer Bernie Ecclestone, former Minardi team manager Paul Stoddart said.

Tied at Hip

“Flavio and Bernie are inextricably tied at the hip,” Stoddart said.

Ecclestone ceded Briatore the television rights to Formula races in Spain, the Italian said in an interview in 2006. The rights are exploited via Stacourt Ltd., a unit of Briatore’s Formula FB Business, which is based in the British Virgin Islands. In 2007, Briatore received 4.7 million pounds ($7.6 million) in consultancy fees, company filings of Stacourt in London show.

Ecclestone, 78, didn’t immediately respond to an e-mail sent to his London office seeking comment and an FIA official didn’t return an e-mail seeking comment about whether the deals were affected.

Ecclestone and Briatore in 2003 set up the GP2 series, which runs on Formula One race weekends, with the Italian’s associate Bruno Michel. The series was sold to CVC Capital Partners Ltd. in 2007 for an undisclosed amount. The private equity firm bought Formula One a year earlier after taking out $2.5 billion in loans.

Soccer Issues

In soccer, Briatore and Ecclestone bought second-tier Queens Park Rangers for 14 million pounds in 2007. Steel billionaire Lakshmi Mittal bought a 20 percent stake four months later. Earlier this month, league officials asked the FIA for documentation about Briatore’s case. League rules say team owners or directors should be barred if subject to a ban from a sports governing body.

Neither Ecclestone nor Mittal has condemned Briatore and the possibility of repairing his public image isn’t out of the question, Borkowski said.

“He has a lot of powerful friends and Formula One is one of the most unpredictable sports,” Borkowski said.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Schumacher back in Formula One as Massa's replacement!!!

After several days of speculation, Ferrari announced on Wednesday that seven-time Formula One world champion Michael Schumacher will indeed replace the injured Felipe Massa in next month's European Grand Prix in Valencia, Spain.

An announcement on Ferrari's Web site said that Schumacher, 40, will begin training immediately to make sure he is in shape for his comeback and that he is ready to go. Schumacher suffered some injuries during the winter after crashing a racing motorcycle, and the team needs to be sure he is fit. Regardless, the news comes as a strange contradiction to what the 40-year-old German's manager, Willi Weber, told the Daily Mail in comments published Tuesday. Webber said that he was "200 percent" sure that Schumacher would not fill the vacant seat. However, AutoWeek reported on Sunday that Schumacher topped the list of candidates for the job.

Sorry, Willi.

"The most important thing first: Thanks God, all news concerning Felipe are positive. I wish him all the best again," the most successful F1 driver of all time said.

"I was meeting this afternoon with [team boss] Stefano Domenicali and [Ferrari president] Luca di Montezemolo and together we decided that I will prepare myself to take the place of Felipe.

"Though it is true that the chapter Formula One has been closed for me since long and completely, it is also true that for loyalty reasons to the team, I cannot ignore that unfortunate situation. But as the competitor I am, I also very much look forward to facing this challenge."

The European Grand Prix on Aug. 23 will mark the first time that Schumacher races alongside Ferrari's Kimi Raïkkönen, and it will be the first time that he experiences F1's new slick tires and kinetic-energy-recovery system. In his favor, upcoming races take place at tracks known to be among Schumacher's favorites: Spa-Francorchamps, Monza and Suzuka. Schumacher has not raced at Valencia, Singapore or Abu Dhabi, which also are among the upcoming events.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Talks Breakdown Puts F1 Future ‘In Jeopardy’ Again,

The threat of a Formula One breakaway was revived after eight teams walked out of talks with the sport’s governing body and said the future of the racing series was again at risk.

The Formula One Teams Association said its members left yesterday’s discussion on next year’s rules after being told by the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile that they hadn’t entered the 2010 championship and therefore had no voting rights on technical and sporting regulations.

Ferrari, McLaren, BMW Sauber, Renault, Toyota, Red Bull Racing, Toro Rosso and Brawn GP -- who had threatened a rival series before reaching an agreement on a unified championship June 24 -- said their lack of say left them with “no option other than to terminate their participation” in the discussion at Germany’s Nurburgring circuit.

All eight FOTA members “were included on the ‘accepted’ entry list as endorsed by the World Motor Sport Council and communicated by FIA press statement on June 24,” the association said in a statement. “To subsequently go against the will of the WMSC and the detail of the Paris agreement puts the future of Formula One in jeopardy.”

The standoff over planned budgetary and technical changes looked to have been resolved last month when the FIA agreed to scrap its proposed budget cap of 40 million pounds ($64.3 million), which would have given smaller teams more engine and design freedom. FOTA members said the plan would have resulted in a two-tier championship.

Mosley U-Turn

The teams won concessions on rule changes and governance, while FIA President Max Mosley agreed not to stand for re- election in October. Mosley has since reconsidered because of what he said were misleading statements made by FOTA to the media, the U.K.’s Daily Telegraph reported.

Yesterday’s meeting before the July 12 German Grand Prix was attended by the Williams and Force India teams, who are suspended from FOTA after submitting unconditional entries to race next year before an agreement was reached. The new Campos Grand Prix, Manor and US F1 teams were also present.

The FIA said the aim of the meeting had been to agree changes to 2010 regulations in line with last month’s decision to revert to the sporting and technical rules in place before April 29 this year.

“Unfortunately, no discussion was possible because FOTA walked out of the meeting,” the FIA said in a statement.

Press Release
2010 FIA Formula One World Championship

Following the decision of the World Council on 24 June to revert to the pre-29 April version of the 2010 F1 Sporting and Technical Regulations, the FIA today met the teams which have entered the 2010 Championship to seek their agreement to these changes.

All changes have now been agreed subject only to the maintenance of the minimum weight at 620 kg and the signing of a legally binding agreement between all the teams competing in 2010 to reduce costs to the level of the early 1990s within two years, as promised by the FOTA representative in Paris on 24 June.

The eight FOTA teams were invited to attend the meeting to discuss their further proposals for 2010. Unfortunately no discussion was possible because FOTA walked out of the meeting.

Monday, June 22, 2009

FOTA's "New Formula" eyes 17-race calendar

Rumours that plans for FOTA's breakaway championship are moving forwards abounded on Sunday.

In the paddock of the Silverstone circuit, even a possible name for the series emerged - 'New Formula' - as well as a potential 17-race 2010 calendar.

Former F1 venues including Buenos Aires, Mexico City, Jerez, Imola, Montreal, Indianapolis, Silverstone, Magny Cours and Adelaide were listed on the theoretical calendar, published by the German news agency SID.

Current tracks were also mentioned: Monaco, Silverstone, Monza, Abu Dhabi, Singapore and Suzuka, while potential new venues are Jerez, Portimao, the Lausitzring, Surfer's Paradise (Australia) and even the Finnish capital Helsinki.

But while some suggest that F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone is moving towards the rebel team's plans, he told Britain's Daily Star newspaper on Sunday that he fears for the breakaway.

Despite earlier sympathising with the teams' dislike of the proposed budget cap, he now believes unfettered spending "could be the curse of our sport".

"It could ruin it. It would be a disaster and they'd destroy the sport," he said.

"I would hate to see any kind of takeover happen because it would be badly managed. They can't even run their own teams. They can't agree on anything. If the teams owned it they would destroy it," Ecclestone, 78, added.

He also scoffed at the leaked FOTA calendar, wondering how the body can compete with the structure operated by his businesses.

"We organise the venues which don't cost the teams a penny," said Ecclestone. "I reckon Ferrari and McLaren need us more than we need them.

"All they have to do is pitch up at a track with their sponsors' names all over their cars in exchange for millions of quid and race in front of a worldwide television audience -- which I have set up and keep going.

"The bottom line is they can't afford to set up a rival championship," he added.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Fota Vs Fia – the Dispute Explained

What prompted this crisis?

Max Mosley, president of the FIA, had been asking the formula one teams for suggestions on how to cut budgets, some of which exceeded £250m per annum. When the teams failed to respond to Mosley's satisfaction, the FIA announced a voluntary £40m budget cap for 2010 with greater technical freedom for those teams accepting the restriction, effectively creating a two-tier championship. The Formula One Teams Association (Fota), which was formed last September, said it could not accept the proposal. As part of a compromise, the FIA said it would drop the two-tier idea, though the teams still resisted. When entries opened for the 2010 championship, Williams and Force India were thrown out of Fota when they accepted the FIA's conditions and entered. The remaining eight teams made a block entry on the understanding that certain conditions were met. Mosley refused but further discussions appeared to be heading for another compromise. Negotiations failed and the teams were given until tonight to accept his terms. In the meantime, the FIA had received entries for several new teams. After a four-hour meeting yesterday, the eight Fota teams said they would form a separate championship.

How serious are the Fota teams?

Very serious. They object to Mosley's methods of governance just as much as the immediate £40m budget cap which the large teams say would be impossible to apply in a short space of time.

How difficult would it be to set up a rival championship?

Extremely difficult, but not impossible. A massive infrastructure is needed. The equivalent of Bernie Ecclestone, the FIA's commercial rights holder, would be needed to establish television contracts and revenue streams as well as negotiating with prospective venues.

Would there be sufficient circuits?

Yes. Tracks such as Silverstone, Montreal, Indianapolis and Magny-Cours, currently unable to meet Ecclestone's demands, would be only too pleased to stage races, particularly if big names such as Ferrari and leading drivers were on the entry list.

Would the tracks be granted the necessary license by the FIA?

Yes, provided they met the necessary safety standards. Similarly, the FIA, as the governing body of all motor sport, would be obliged to license the Fota championship if all the regular conditions were met.

How would the existing championship fare?

Badly. Williams, Force India and a number of small, unknown teams would not attract sufficient interest.

Would the existing television companies be contractually obliged to cover the championship?

Good question. It depends on the terms of their contract with Ecclestone and, more important, what he is supposed to deliver to them in terms of entries.

The FIA say that Ferrari, Red Bull and Toro Rosso, whether they like it or not, are contractually bound to be part of their championship until 2012.

Ferrari dispute this, claiming that the FIA broke the terms of the agreement by unilaterally establishing the 2010 rules. The FIA does not agree. A lengthy legal battle would ensue.

Is a split a good thing?

Definitely not. Splits rarely work in any sport and motor racing is no exception. A split in Indycar completely destroyed top-level single-seater racing in North America. Both sides in formula one realize this and it will be the one thing driving the need to find a solution.

So, will this be solved?

Ecclestone could be the peacemaker. The betting is we will be watching world championship racing in 2010, much as we're seeing it now. In the meantime, this unnecessary stand-off is doing nothing for the image of formula one.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Future Of F1 In Doubt, Apocalypse Inevitable?

The simmering feud between the major Formula 1 teams and the sport’s sanctioning body has erupted into a full-blown civil war, with eight of the 10 teams announcing they are leaving at the end of the season to launch their own race series.

The Formula One Teams Association has been at odds with the Federation Internationale d’Automobile over a proposal by FIA President Max Mosley to adopt a budget cap. Mosley has long been obsessed with reining in the stratospheric cost of racing, but the big teams - led by Ferrari - strenuously opposed his plan to limit spending to 100 million Euros next year and 45 million Euros a year thereafter.

Proving he’s one of the dumbest guys to come down the pike, Mosley thought he could stare down the teams. On the eve of the British Grand Prix, the teams poked him in the eye.

The teams had provisionally agreed to compete next season and were willing to work with Mosely to meet his cost-cutting goal, but said, in effect, “Ditch any talk of the cap and and we’ll be on the grid for sure. Until then, we’re signing up conditionally.”

Mosley and F1 capo di tutti capi Bernie Eccelstone essentially told the teams, “Sign up unconditionally and then we’ll talk.” The FIA gave the teams until today to sign on the dotted line.

Instead, they voted to bolt.

“The wishes of the majority of the teams are ignored,” FOTA said in a statement. “These teams therefore have no alternative other than to commence the preparation for a new championship which reflects the values of its participants and partners.”

The FIA isn’t backing down. It says today’s the deadline for signing up to compete next season, and it fully intends to enforce it. What’s more, it plans to sue FOTA.

“The actions of FOTA as a whole, and Ferrari in particular, amount to serious violations of law including willful interference with contractual relations, direct breaches of Ferrari’s legal obligations and a grave violation of competition law,” the FIA said in a statement. “The FIA will be issuing legal proceedings without delay. Preparations for the 2010 FIA Formula One World Championship continue but publication of the final 2010 entry list will be put on hold while the FIA asserts its legal rights.”

That final entry list could be mighty short. The teams heading for the exit are Ferrari, McLaren Mercedes, BMW Sauber, Toyota, Renault, Red Bull, Toro Rosso and Brawn GP. The teams aren’t likely to back down - especially since Ferrari boss Luca di Montezemolo leads FOTA. Mosely’s hardball approach is doomed to failure.

“That’s not negotiating at all,” David Hobbs, a SpeedTV commentator and multiple racing champion, said recently. “That’s what’s been passing for diplomacy on the world stage these past few years. It’s like saying to those guys, ‘OK Iran, get rid of your nuclear program, and then we’ll talk about whether you should have it.’ That’s not diplomacy at all. Who’s going to agree to that?”

Hey Max and Bernie — when an elder sportsman of your sport compares your diplomatic skills to those of the Bush Administration, you’re doing it wrong.

It might just cost Mosley his job. The FIA World Council meets Wednesday, and his future as president could be up for discussion.

“I think the trouble is that Max has gone too far with this and the teams have suddenly said ‘I’m sorry, we can’t take it any more’,” Jackie Stewart, the three-time world champ and a longtime critic of Mosley, told Reuters today. “It may well be that Max Mosley has to go.

“I think a lot of people are kind of fed up with the dictatorial attitude,” Stewart added. “He has a great position of power but big trees do blow over.”

It isn’t just the teams and pundits coming down hard on the FIA. Some other heavy-hitters are siding with FOTA. The organizers of the Monaco Grand Prix — the premier event of the season — reportedly won’t stage a race next year if Ferrari isn’t on the grid. Eccelstone, who seems to exist only to squeeze every last cent out of F1’s global popularity, didn’t have much to say about the sport’s future.

“No idea. Speak to Max,” he told reporters at Silverstone, site of this weekend’s British Grand Prix, according to Reuters. Looks like Eccelstone is backing away slowly and leaving Mosley to fend for himself.

As of now, the teams officially signed up for next year are Williams and Force India alongside newcomers Team US F1, Campos Grand Prix and Manor Grand Prix. The upstarts have never competed at this level before and God only knows how far along they are in development of their cars. What’s more, everyone will be running Cosworth engines - even Williams and Force India, because they currently get their engines from Toyota and Mercedes, respectively.

So unless Mosley comes to his senses, what we’re left with is essentially a spec series featuring a bunch of teams that generate zero excitement and almost certainly won’t be racing in Monaco.

Heck of a job, Maxie!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Jenson Button Snatched Pole With Brawn F1 Car

Briton Jenson Button snatched pole position and his Brawn teammate Rubens Barrichello took second as the F1 newcomers seized starting grid control in Australian GP in Melbourne on Saturday. Button, backed by just three days' testing with a Brawn team hastily put together in the wake of a management buy-out of the Honda team, claimed his fourth career pole.

The 29-year-old, with just one victory in 153 GPs over nine seasons, has a marvelous chance for only his second GP triumph in Sunday's Melbourne race. It is the first time since 1970 that a new team has captured the pole in its first F1 race.

Button swept around the Albert Street circuit in one minute 26.202 seconds, ahead of Barrichello's best of 1:26.505.

Rising German star Sebastian Vettel was third quickest in his Red Bull in 1:26.830 in an eventful hour-long qualifying with world champion Lewis Hamilton forced to start off the back row of Sunday's grid after gearbox problems.

The British star failed to come out of the McLaren team garage for the second section of qualifying and was credited with 15th position, but he incurred a mandatory five-place grid penalty and was relegated to 20th.

On a day of drama, Toyota's Timo Glock and Jarno Trulli were also stripped of their grid positions after qualifying sixth and eighth respectively. It followed technical inspections by the sport's governing body, the FIA, which found a flexible wing infringement.

World constructors champions Ferrari were also left behind in the slipstream of the two Brawns with Felipe Massa to come off the third row and Kimi Raikkonen one row behind.

pic 1: Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso Australian GP, Melbourne
pic 2: Sebastien Bourdais Toro Rosso Australian GP, Melbourne

pic 1: Robert Kubica BMW Sauber Australian GP, Melbourne 2009
pic 2: Nick Heidfeld BMW Sauber Australian GP, Melbourne 2009

pic 1: Nico Rosberg Williams Australian GP, Melbourne 2009
pic 2: Nick Heidfeld BMW Sauber Australian GP, Melbourne 2009

pic 1: Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari Australian GP, Melbourne 2009
pic 2: Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari Australian GP, Melbourne 2009

pic 1: Jenson Button Brawn Racing Australian GP, Melbourne 2009
pic 2: Jenson Button Brawn Racing Australian GP, Melbourne 2009

pic 1: Jarno Trulli Toyota Australian GP, Melbourne 2009
pic 2: Jarno Trulli Toyota Australian GP, Melbourne 2009

pic 1: Jarno Trulli Toyota Australian GP, Melbourne 2009
pic 2: Heikki Kovalainen McLaren Mercedes Australian GP

pic 1: Giancarlo Fisichella Force India Australian GP, Melbourne 2009
pic 2: Adrian Sutil Force India Australian GP, Melbourne 2009

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Brawn GP Part of the Leading Group

Have Brawn GP Staked a Claim to Be Part of this Leading Group?

Brawn GP have been one of the stories of testing this week. The car has been extremely fast straight out of the box. Even better, the car has proved to be very reliable. Ross Brawn and his two drivers, Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello, must be feeling pretty ecstatic right now.

On Wednesday, Button set a low 1:19 and Barrichello on Thursdays managed to sneak into the 1:18s. Even if these laps are glory/sponsor seeking laps, these times are fast by anyone’s standards. They are quicker than the time set in Q2 of the Spanish GP last season. It’s obvious that Brawn GP have a very quick car on their hands. Not only do they look good in low fuel trim, but their long runs have been mighty as well.

Remember that this is the car Honda started building all the way back in 2007. They gave up completely on 2008 before the season even started. Ross Brawn focused entirely—and put a lot of Honda’s cash—into building this car. They have still been developing the car during the winter, even with all the uncertainty of the team’s future. Therefore, there was always a good chance this was going to be a very fast car, and it most certainly is.

A question mark will hang over whether they can keep up the development pace over the whole season. I think they have a good chance. Honda has given Ross Brawn 100 million pounds to keep the team alive, as opposed to having to pay that amount to make all the staff redundant. The team has also been around 40 to 50 million pounds in commercial, and TV revenue money from Bernie Ecclestone.

So for this season at least, Brawn GP have a very healthy budget on which to operate. I am sure Ross Brawn will make use of every penny. He is very talented and will run a very efficient operation. It will be very much like the Renault operation, who, despite having less funds than Mclaren and Ferrari, beat them both to consecutive championships back in 2005 and 2006.

Paul Murtagh and I said in our preview of Brawn GP that podiums and points were possible. I think that will definitely happen now. Not only that, but they have now got a genuine chance of winning in Melbourne. Some experts believe the Brawn GP car is the class of the field; even Felipe Massa admitted his Ferrari couldn’t do lap times as fast as Brawn has been producing. For Felipe Massa to actually come out and say that is quite a statement. Fernando Alonso has also come out, and said that Brawn GP’s pace is for real.

Brawn GP has most certainly been the biggest story in Barcelona this week. Whether they perform in Melbourne is an entirely different matter, but the signs look as if they could be on for a great start to the season. And as already touched on, it’s not as if they don’t have the funds this season, with the team still getting Honda money.

Just think: Not so long ago Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello’s careers were in grave danger. Now they both have a car, which has the potential to be at the front of the grid. It’s strange how quickly things can change in the world of Formula One.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Who Are Looking Like the Current Front Runners

This is promising to be a fantastic season. Going to Melbourne, there are three or four teams who will be starting the weekend thinking they have a decent chance of winning the race.

Throughout testing, Ferrari, BMW, and Toyota have been extremely closely matched at the top of the timesheets. When they have been doing similar runs in testing this week, their times have evenly matched. They all look like fast, consistent cars.

In the Bahrain test, these three teams were always covered by just a couple of tenths. When they joined the other teams in Jerez and Barcelona, that theme continued. Except they have also been ahead of the other teams, too (with the possible exception of Brawn GP, which is explained in the next section).

Toyota has impressed me most in testing. They have clocked up a huge amount of mileage, and the car is extremely reliable. Jarno Trulli is very bullish about his chances in Melbourne. I think this could be Toyota’s big long last. They look as if they are finally realising what it takes to be successful in Formula One.

Their team members have become more passionate about racing, rather than acting all corporate. I am sure this has made a substantial difference. If Toyota doesn’t win races this season, then they will be very disappointed. It could be a big year for Jarno Trulli and Timo Glock.

Ferrari, again, have built another fast car. However, their testing hasn’t been without reliability problems. They have had a couple of scares with their KERs (Kinetic Energy Recovery system) device. Ferrari has seemed pretty intent on using their device from the start, but they may have second thoughts about that before Melbourne. Leading 1-2 in Melbourne and then having a double car failure (like Mclaren suffered in the 1999 season opener) would be seriously gut wrenching.

Their other issue is that it still takes a long time to warm up the tyres. This is at its worst in cooler conditions. This means that like the last couple of seasons, they will be at a disadvantage to their main rivals in qualifying. As things stand, that could be very critical. With the front runners so closely packed, not having a great qualifying car could cost them far more than it did last season. They need to work on this. Historically, Ferrari’s race pace has always been their strong point compared with qualifying pace. This isn’t just a recent trend.

BMW also looked to have made the step forward to regular race win contenders. BMW gave up full development on their 2008 car pretty early on, and started to focus much more on the 2009 contender. They recognised that 2009 was a unique opportunity to gain on the front runners.

It looks like BMW Sauber may well have made the right decision here, despite Robert Kubica being unhappy that BMW didn’t focus more on his 2008 title challenge. Since BMW took over Sauber back in 2006, they have made a big step every year since then. They look set to take another big step forward for the fourth year running, which is deeply impressive. They are set to be championship contenders this season. The team have often sandbagged in the past in testing, so there is a chance they are even quicker than they're letting on.

Overall, out of these three leading teams, I would estimate that Ferrari has a tiny edge in terms of race pace. When it comes to qualifying trim, BMW and Toyota are probably ahead. Toyota won’t be using the KERs system until later in the season. We will see whether this proves to be an advantage or a disadvantage to them. It could swing either way.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Surprisingly Close At The First Tests

The Grid Is Surprisingly Close!!

This has been one of the main stories of testing this season. All the rule changes have effectively meant that each team has started from a new sheet of paper. Many figures expected this would spread the grid out. Last season, the field spread came down to about two seconds. This is the closest it had been for many season, attributed to the fact that the rules had been stable for a few seasons up to that point.

Amazingly, despite the changes, the grid looks set to close up even more. During the tests, the field has been separated on average by 2.0 to 2.5 seconds. When you take into account that some teams would have been running high fuel programmes, and others low fuel programmes, then the field is likely to be even closer than that.

We won’t see how much time covers the entire field until we start qualifying in Melbourne. I would guess the field spread could well be as low as 1.5 seconds. This would be pretty astonishing.

So why is it so close?

Simply put, many teams have adapted to the rules well and created great cars. We also have to remember that there are a huge number of large manufacturer teams compared to years' past. These teams are extremely well-funded, and have top-range facilities in place. There are more teams with the power and capabilities to build a great F1 car.

Out of the current teams, Toro Rosso and Force India are the ones most likely to be classed as minnows. Toro Rosso is, technically speaking, a customer team of Red Bull, (who look as if they have a great car), and Force India has formed a technical collaboration with Mclaren. Thanks to this, both these teams are going to improve significantly as well, despite not being as well off as the teams above them.

Compare this to the last set of major rule changes in 1998. The field spread out then—which perhaps is why many expected the same to happen this time around—but the difference was there were far more lower funded teams with nowhere near the level of facilities that many teams have now. These teams included the likes of Minardi, Arrows, Stewart Ford, Tyrell, Prost, and Sauber.

Adapting to huge new rules stretched these small teams to the absolute limit. This is a big reason why the field of 1998 spread out. The situation in 2009 is very different with many more big teams on the grid, and the minnows well supported with partnerships with other teams. I bet Minardi and Arrows would have loved a technical collaboration with Mclaren or Ferrari back in their day.

This season, a bunch of very talented and well developed teams have had the chance to start fresh. Every team started the 2009 development at the same place: on the starting line.

In the last couple of seasons, most of the teams have matched each other in terms of development rate. The main problem for the likes of Red Bull and Toyota was that they started the season over a second behind Ferrari and Mclaren. With stable rule changes, it was always an impossible task to make big inroads into that lead. Starting from scratch, and at the same level as Ferrari and Mclaren, they have a chance to edge ahead if they adapt better to the 2009 rules.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Analysing Testing in Barcelona 2009 package

This week, all the F1 teams have been in Barcelona for the last major F1 test of the year. For many, it was their final chance to put miles on the car and learn about their 2009 package.

The Difficulty of Analysing Testing

When studying testing times, you have to take them with a pinch of salt; we won’t know until Melbourne what the real pecking order is. There are many different variables in testing, which can give a misleading picture of who is where.

For example, we don’t know what programmes the teams are working on. They might be working on a particular area of setup. They could just be testing the reliability of the car. They could be getting used to the tyres’ behaviour over a single lap or a race distance. They are learning as much as they can about their cars, as opposed to chasing that outright quick lap.

Importantly, we don’t know how much fuel the teams are carrying. This alone can make a huge difference to the lap times. Some teams opt to run light, whereas others always tend to run heavy in testing.

Track conditions also contribute to lap times. The track conditions change throughout the day. The race track is a living creature; it will normally get more rubber on it as the test day goes on. However, any precipitation will wash all that rubber away. The track will become “green,” and therefore much slower than it was previously.

Despite all of these variables, it’s still possible to see patterns that are forming. You can spot which teams look like they are in good shape and who may indeed struggle.

By the end of testing, you can get a rough idea of how the pecking order is looking. In the last test session, in particular, a clearer picture begins to emerge. At this point teams need to assess how fast their cars really are.

Also in this final week many teams will do simulations of the race weekend. This offers the best chance of comparing their performances.

Each season, though, there is always at least one team that doesn’t end up where testing suggests they should have.

Teams may run ultra light to attract sponsors or may run extremely heavy to hide their true speed. This is a term often referred to as “sandbagging.”

In 2001, Prost were setting very fast lap times, and even broke a lap record! Once the season started, they were nowhere near the front of the grid. At the time, Alain Prost’s team were struggling for funds, so they ran their car under the minimum required weight to set fast times and attract sponsors.

Quite a devious little plan!

Last season, BMW Sauber didn’t look too good for much of preseason testing. However, they caused a big shock when Robert Kubica came from nowhere to almost snatch pole position from Lewis Hamilton in Melbourne.

So the big question on every F1 fan’s lips is how is the current order looking as things currently stand?

Saturday, March 7, 2009

FOTA strategy amid financial crisis; stability, sustainability, substance and spectacle!

Formula One team leaders met Wednesday to finalize their strategy, in Geneva, for the sport, amid the global financial crisis.

The Formula One Teams Association (FOTA), led by Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo, will hold a news conference Thursday to unveil their plans as the sport faces heavy cost-cutting and difficulties in attracting new sponsors and teams.

FOTA said in a statement that its proposals "are aimed at increasing the stability, sustainability, substance and spectacle of the sport."

The blueprint — to be unveiled less than four weeks before the new season starts March 29 in Australia — will draw on market research which asked F1 fans and television audiences in 17 countries what changes they wanted to see.

Teams and fans have been told by the FIA, auto racing's governing body, that F1 must cut its spending drastically in order to survive.

FIA president Max Mosley has said he wants teams to limit their budgets to €50 million ($64 million), instead of the spiraling annual spending of €224 million ($283 million) that saw Japanese car giant Honda drop out in December.

Former Honda team principal Ross Brawn was at Wednesday's meeting as he seeks to put together a management buyout that would keep the team on the grid under a new name.

Also joining FOTA president Montezemolo at the meeting were team leaders Mario Theissen (BMW Sauber), Ron Dennis and Martin Whitmarsh (McLaren), Flavio Briatore (Renault), Stefano Domenicali (Ferrari), John Howett (Toyota), Franz Tost (Toro Rosso), Christian Horner (Red Bull Racing) and Alex Burns (Williams).

Force India team owner Vijay Mallya is expected to join his colleagues for Thursday's launch.

They joined together to create FOTA last September to unite in negotiations with the FIA and Bernie Ecclestone, whose Formula One Management controls the lucrative commercial and media rights.

At a meeting in Monaco last December, FIA and the teams agreed to a series of changes which include longer-lasting engines, limits on expensive testing and cheaper, off-the-shelf engines for smaller teams.

Mosley and FIA are preparing further proposals later this month which could take effect in the 2010 season, when a United States-based team is expected to join the circuit.

The USF1 operation hopes to be based in Charlotte, North Carolina, with American drivers and meet Mosley's €50 million budget target.

Their arrival would inject new capital into F1, which has seen major sponsors back away since the financial downturn hit.

BMW Sauber lost Swiss bank Credit Suisse while Renault's title sponsor, ING, will not renew at the end of this season. Troubled British bank RBS will end its deal with Williams after 2010.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Toro Rosso will launch their new STR4 next week

Toro Rosso will launch their new STR4 Formula One car at a test in Barcelona on Monday, the race-winning team said on Wednesday.

Frenchman Sebastien Bourdais and Swiss newcomer Sebastien Buemi will be the drivers this year, with the latter likely to be the only rookie on the starting grid when the season starts in Australia on March 29.

Ferrari-powered Toro Rosso, who started last season with the previous year's car, won the 2008 Italian Grand Prix with 21-year-old German Sebastian Vettel who has since left for sister team Red Bull.

Apart from the former Honda team, whose future has yet to be confirmed after the Japanese manufacturer's decision to pull out of the sport, Toro Rosso will be the last to unveil their new-look car.

The car is based on the RB5 one used by Red Bull and has already had a brief shakedown test at the Adria circuit in Italy.

Honda could also be testing at the Circuit de Catalunya on Monday, although a management buyout led by team principal Ross Brawn has still to be confirmed.

Bruno Senna upset on Honda, Barrichello

Rubens Barrichello has indicated he is set to prolong his record holding Formula 1 career for at least one more year, while countryman Bruno Senna admits his hopes for the vacant Honda seat have faded.

It has been reported this week that, despite rookie Senna's strong links with the Brackley based team throughout the winter, the soon to be renamed outfit has plumped instead for an unchanged driver lineup.

"My faith says that next week I'll be driving a competitive car in the tests in Barcelona, although I have no document in my hands that assures me of that," 36-year-old Barrichello, already in Britain awaiting developments, told Sao Paulo's O Estado newspaper.

25-year-old Senna, meanwhile, the nephew of Barrichello's late mentor Ayrton Senna, admits he met with team boss Ross Brawn on Wednesday "and he cancelled" their prospective collaboration for 2009.

"I'm kind of resigned to trying something else," he told the same newspaper, amid speculation the 2008 GP2 Series runner up might switch to the German touring car series DTM.

Senna said: "I'm just a little upset because this situation has dragged on for so long, making me lose better professional possibilities."

"Now I'm going to get together with my family, with my advisors, and decide what way to take."

An announcement about Honda's plans for 2009 is possible on Friday, when it is expected the newly Mercedes powered car may be debuted at Silverstone.

The team, likely to be known as Brawn Racing in 2009, did not comment.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Formula 1 2009 unveilings, so far..

Here are the unveiling's of F1 teams, the missing are Toro Rosso and Honda**
To see the post containing the pictures simply click the image!



Red Bull

McLaren Mercedes


BMW Sauber


Saturday, February 21, 2009

2009 Testing - This Far

Team-by-team listing!! (Well, important teams)

The Top 3:
McLaren: The 2008 winners seems to be the only top team with testing running according to plan. They seem to have the lead at this moment. Nothing's really gone wrong, they just need to keep finding the perfect set-up for the car!!

Ferrari: Heading for the Sakhir circuit was a mistake. They got a total of 400 testing kilometers less than McLaren (who were testing at Jerez) and are now calling in Michael Schumacher as a consultant regarding slicks. He might be test driving in Mugello once he's recovered from his recent bike crash. Additionally, their KERS is heavier than most others.

BMW: Front wing difficulties have caused BMW to get working on a revamped front wing. They're not as fast as Ferrari right now. They will still be a force to count on. World champions? No. Podiums? Surely.

The Surprising 2:
Toyota: Toyota has been keeping up with Ferrari in Bahrain, sometimes being the fastest team over a day. They might not have the same edge as Ferrari, but they may well be a common sight on the podium in 2009.

Red Bull: Red Bull is perhaps the strongest and most surprising this far. At this moment in time, I keep them as the second best team, behind McLaren. They need to fine tune the setup, and they will surely be fighting for some wins.

The Crap 1:
Renault: After having some serious issues with the car, they are now stopping ALL testing for the rest of February. Why? Their car is not good enough. They're putting all resources into pretty much remaking it. It's not good enough. Fernando Alonso will take care of all the testing in March. Perhaps the cock-up team of 2009

The Non-Moving 2:
Toro Rosso: They are waiting for their Red bull chassis. With the Ferrari engine, they may do well. They have mediocre drivers, though, and should be nothing more than a midfield contestant.

Force India: Watch out!! With McLaren engine and KERS, as well as help in other areas, Force India may be the surpise of 2009. I warn you - Sutil might hit a podium or two in 2009. All it takes is some luck. Surely not in the run for wins, no way, but they will probably make a giant leap forwards under 2009.

The Rest:
Williams: Williams are not making a huge impression. They are where they were last year. Far back, but not at the complete bottom. They won't be much better than 2008. Nico Rosberg might want to look into changing cockpit for 2010...

Honda: Testing..? No, they are not. But they are developing their car. Sir Richard Branson of Virgin wants to buy Honda, rumours say. He says he is interested. They might just line up for 2009. If so, they are likely to have Jenson Button and Bruno Senna driving for them.

USF1: No, they will not be racing in 2009. They're up for 2010. Danica Patrick is rumoured to already be scheduled for a late 2009 test with USF1. This would make her the first female F1 driver, ever. Why not??

Saturday, February 14, 2009

The Red Bull strip RB5 Webber and Vettel

Like the Red Bull strip?? :D

Get it here: Red Bull Racing

Or just click the lower links..

One: The cover
Two: The car – but drawn
Three: The team’s history!
Four: Mark Webber in… ‘Road To Recovery!’
Five: Mark Webber in… ‘Road To Recovery!’ (continued)
Six: Christian Horner On Why 2009 Is A New Formula!
Seven: The RB5 Unleashed!
Eight: Adrian Newey Reveals His Blue-sky Thinking!
Nine: Sebastian Vettel in… ‘The Space Race!’
Ten: Sebastian Vettel in… ‘The Space Race!’ (continued)
Eleven: Geoff Willis on Why We Have To Be Slick!
Twelve: The Secrets of Milton Keynes Revealed
Thirteen: The Back Cover!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Four: Mark Webber in… ‘Road To Recovery!’

Mark Weber in:
Road to Recovery

Mark Webber starts his third year in Red Bull Racing colours as the senior driver in the squad, hoping to produce the results of which we know he is capable. Occasionally dogged by misfortune, his road accident back in November was very,very bad luck, but he worked hard over the winter to speed through his recovery.
Webber made his Formula One debut with Minardi in 2002. It was a fairytale first: the team had not scored a point since 1999 and Mark finished his maiden race, at home in Australia, in fifth place, ending the season as the undisputed rookie of the year. Eleven years after the inevitable start in karts, Webber was beginning to make his mark in the sport’s top discipline. After karts and Formula Ford in his native Australia came the equally inevitable move to England for more single-seater experience and he put his name on the map by winning the prestigious Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch. Formula 3 followed, but then Mark’s career followed a path pioneered by Michael Schumacher, when he was taken on by the Mercedes sports car team.
Unfortunately, Webber’s time with the tin tops is best remembered for twice flipping the car at huge speed (through no fault of his own) at the Le Mans 24 Hours weekend in 1999. This led to him racing more sensible cars and he ended up coming into Formula One through the more conventional Formula 3000 route.
Mark has spent half his F1 life in Milton Keynes-based teams. His maiden Minardi season was followed by two years with Jaguar. Then after a couple of seasons at Williams, he returned to ‘MK’ and Red Bull Racing. A third placed podium finish in the 2007 European GP has been the highlight of his time with the team to date. In 2008, Mark was Mr Consistency in the first half of the season, regularly bringing home points, but after a front-row start at Silverstone, life got tougher and he ended the year 11th on 21 points.
Apart from his on-track commitment, Mark is a long-standing director of the Grand Prix Drivers Association, while the end of his F1 season means just one thing – the Mark Webber Pure Tasmania Challenge, which allows Webber to indulge his passion for all outdoor pursuits, with the possible exceptionof cycling from now on! The event has so far raised more than a million dollars for The Leukaemia Foundation and the Savethe Tasmanian Devil program

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Three: The team’s history!

2009: a new f1 season, new rules and a hostof new challenges! ButforRed Bull Racing, whichthis yearfields anexciting driverline-up inMark Webberand SebastianVettel, thetargetremains thesame: takeontheestablished orderand winthrough! theseasonstarts here!!!

The 2009 season will see Red Bull Racing embark on its fifth year in F1, although its parent company’s links with the sport began a couple of decades earlier. An obvious Austrian connection between Red Bull and Gerhard Berger meant the driver was signed up as Red Bull’s first athlete and, as the drinks company went on to establish a reputation for backing extreme sports, it continued to strengthen its F1 involvement. Its colours graced many a grand prix driver’s drinks bottle and its logo featured on the Sauber team cars. Then, in 2004, Red Bull went one stage further and bought what had been Jaguar Racing and lined up at the start of the 2005 season with David Coulthard and Christian Klien sitting in the cockpits of the team’s RB1 car.

From the outset, the team’s on-track performance was respectable, but what really set Red Bull Racing apart from its peers was the fresh approach it brought to its F1 programme: the Red Bulletin daily paddock newspaper, the Formula Una girls, the Energy Station that played host to the entire paddock and stunning movie co-operations in Monaco. The team has always done things differently.

Red Bull Racing achieved its first podium in Monaco in 2006, which proved to be a transitional year for the team.There was investment in new staff and new equipment, while a key appointment was made in the form of renowned designer Adrian Newey. Wind tunnels and other simulation tools were developed and, as the team worked hard on the RB3, the first car to be designed by Adrian Newey’s technical team, the foundations of the team were firmly established. Later the same year the team confirmed a deal to run Renaultengines that had been good enoughto win back-to-back Championshiptitles in the previous two seasons.
Since 2006 the team has been consistent with a podium finish in 2007 with Mark Webber at the Nurburgring and a further podium finish for David Coulthard in Canada in 2008. This year will see the team fielding a very strong driver line-up, blending the experience of Mark Webber with the youthful talent of Sebastian Vettel. In a sport where money did all the talking, the new rules, which go some way to ruling out the cash advantage of the biggest teams, could well see a shake-up in how the grid lines up. Certainly Red Bull Racing, having just completed another major upgrade of its technical facility at Milton Keynes, is perfectly placed to challenge Formula One’s established order.

2005: The team makes a big impact in its first seasonbeing a regular points scorer and occasionally challenging for podium finishes. In all the team collects 34 Points: 24 for David Coulthard, 9 for Christian Klien and 1 for Vitantonio Liuzzi.
2006: First podium finish, Monaco. David starts from seventh on the grid, but the team makes a strategy change and converts to an early one fuel-stop plan, which moves him into a podium position. The team’s first ever podium thus comes at the world’s most glamorous race and David graces the Royal podium wearing a red cape, as Red Bull have tied in a promo with the Superman returns film over the grand prix weekend.

2006: The team ends the season in seventh position with a haul of 16 points: 14 for DC and 2 for Klien.
2007: Mark Webber joins the team and claims podium No. 2 at the Nurburgring with a great third place in terrible conditions. DC backs up the Aussie with a useful fifth place.
2007: Red Bull Racing ends the ’07 campaign in fifth place with 24 points: 14 for DC and 10 for Webber.
2008: DC claims the last podium finish of his career in Montreal, coming through race day carnage from ‘unlucky 13’ on the grid to finish in third place. Amonth later, Webber claims the team’s first front row start with a brilliant lap in qualifying at the British GP.
2008: Can Red Bull claim to have won a grand prix? Yes it can, because Milton Keynes is also home to the boffins of Red Bull Technology and the car they designed for Scuderia Toro Rosso beat every other car on the grid at the 2008 Italian Grand Prix.
2008: Sebastian Vettel signs for the team for the 2009 season. The team bids farewell to DC as his race career comes to a close in Brazil. Red bull racing ends the season with five more points than the previous season, but the campaign is such an open one that the teamfinishes seventh in the Constructors’ Championship.

Three: The team’s history!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Formula 1 Constructors Championship 2009 Prediction

I am going to be all epic and awesome here. Our new world champion, 2009, will be Vettel Lewis Hamilton once again. Promise you.

Constructors absolutely, surely, and without any doubt, will look like this after visiting Yas Island:

(revamped 2009-02-21)
1. McLaren
2. Ferrari
3. Red Bull
4. Toyota
5. BMW
6. Toro Rosso
7. Force India
8. Williams
9. Renault

The Renault sucks. McLaren and Ferrari always are up there. BMW too, nowadays. Toro Rosso is using the Red Bull chassis, which seems to be all epic already. Vettel was fastest in the 2009-spec Red Bull, with no prior experience of it. Besides, he's a good driver. Additionally, Renault gets to tweak their engine.

Force India is all assisted by McLaren. McLaren who are up there. Sutil and Fisichella might hit the podium once or twice this year. Toyota too. I am seeing the top7 all open, to be honest. They all seem good.

Williams have not been too convincing, on me, so far into testing. Who knows? They seem too slow.

The one true disaster, and we knew one team would end up here, is Renault. The car sucks. Heck, Alonso has admitted it "needs improving before Melbourne". In other words, it's crap. He's a lucky sod if he scores more than 10 points during 2009 altogether, and those points would all be down to him being the best F1 driver around for 2009.

Special Red Bull RB5 Strip

Red Bull

Car 14
Mark Webber

Car 15
Sebastian Vettel


The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Get the .PDF file here:
The cover

The Red Bull RB5 “beauty” unveiled

Red Bull racing finally showed its 2009 RB5 “beauty” on Monday. The launch had been scheduled for around this time, but is long after most teams started on track testing.

The Red Bull racing team is extremely excited about its new RB5 and is hoping to be competitive. Although the RB5 designer, Adrian Newey, and team principal, Christian Horner, are being very realistic about the 2009 season. Both say that with the biggest rule changes in 20 years, the 2009 season is completely up for grabs. However, both also say that the difference between the best and worst performing vehicles will be greater than seen in the past.

In a normal car launch, the carmaker publishes a simple press kit available to download. The press kit features all the information on the car the team/carmaker feel needs to be given, which is obviously less in competitive racing. Red Bull however, issued a press kit comic book.

From perusing the comic book one learns the 2009 RB5 features the Renault RS27 engine that complies with all 2009 FIA specifications. The specifications include a V-8 configuration with a maximum displacement of 2.4 liters and redline of 18,000 RPM. The engine block is built from cast aluminum and is an integral structural component. The Red Bull racing KERS device is the same as seen on the Renault R29 developed by Renault and Magnetti Marelli.

The chassis is a composite monocoque type designed and built by Red Bull racing. Gear changes are handled by a longitudinally mounted seven-speed transmission with a hydraulic system for power shifting and clutch operation.

The car hit the track yesterday after its introduction with driver Sebastian Vettel behind the wheel. Vettel had no comment on the car after fourteen laps, simply saying “The guys did a fantastic job to get the here and ready for this first run. I was happy to be driving again, but don’t ask me to comment on the feel of the car as it’s far too early for that.” The practice session was ended early due to rising transmission temperatures.

Mark Webber continues the 2009 season with Red Bull Racing and Sebastian Vettel replaces David Coulthard, who retired after the 2008 season. Vettel raced for Red Bull’s Ferrari-powered Scuderia Toro Rosso team during the 2008 season where he won the 2008 Italian Grand Prix and at 21-years old, became the youngest driver to win a Formula One Grand Prix.

pic 1: Red Bull RB5 Front
pic 2: Red Bull RB5 Front

pic 1: Red Bull RB5 Side
pic 2: Red Bull RB5 Side

pic 1: Red Bull RB5 Side
pic 2: Sebastian Vettel Red Bull RB5

pic 1: Sebastian Vettel Red Bull RB5
pic 2: Sebastian Vettel Red Bull RB5

pic 1: Mark Webber Sebastian Vettel Red Bull RB5
pic 2: Mark Webber Sebastian Vettel Red Bull RB5

Sunday, February 8, 2009

12-inch metal rods holding leg together

FORMULA One star Mark Webber lay in agony on the road, glanced at the shattered shinbone protruding through his bloody flesh and casually asked paramedics: “When can I drive again?”

The Red Bull racer suffered a career-threatening compound fracture of his right leg in a 50mph head-on collision with a 4x4 car during his own charity bicycle race in Tasmania.

But, in an exclusive interview, Webber insists he will be fit to test Red Bull’s new F1 car in Jerez on Tuesday — just two months after the accident.

BROKEN HERO - Mark Webber lies injured and surrounded by medics after his bike crash

Webber has had a 12-inch titanium rod inserted in his leg to hold together his smashed tibia and fibula. The scars are clearly visible above.

The 32-year-old Aussie still needs crutches to walk. But he has been spending up to three minutes in a cryogenic chamber in temperatures of MINUS 135 degrees to speed his recovery.

And, speaking about the crash for the first time, he admits he is lucky just to be alive. “The big bloke upstairs was looking down on me on that stretch of road,” he confessed.

“It would have been unrealistic to come away with nothing seriously wrong from a collision with a car. But it could have been a lot worse. I was flying along the road at the time. I dived with my head and chest to the side, but my legs didn’t make it.

“I’ve had big crashes in a car in the past but you have absolutely no protection on a bike. I was in a lot of pain. Both my tibia and fibula were broken but the compound fracture was of the tibia and the bone was exposed.


“Afterwards the paramedics told me I just kept asking them: ‘How long will it take to fix me up so I can start driving again?’ It’s a remote area and it was hard to get a helicopter there but the paramedics did a great job.”

Webber was air-lifted to the Royal Hobart Hospital, where he underwent a two-hour operation. He spent a week there before being transferred by air ambulance to a private hospital in Melbourne, where the new 2009 F1 season will start next month.

He returned to his home in England before Christmas. Since having the plaster removed, he has been swimming and lifting weights — plus undergoing intense cryo treatment.

Webber explained: “I’ve been doing it for three weeks. I go from room temperature into a chamber of -50°C for about 30 seconds and then for another three minutes at -130°C.”


But Webber is adamant his injuries will not affect his ability to drive his 200mph F1 car. He said: “The surgeons told me the injuries should take six months to heal. But, as I’m fit, that comes down to three months. Because of the risk of infection I wasn’t allowed to do too much for the first few weeks.

“But I have been doing training on my upper body to make sure my neck and arm muscles are still strong. And my target has always been to get back for the first test of the new car in Jerez.

“The rod has to stay in my leg for 18 months and I am now trying to build up my leg muscles. Some days the muscles tell you you’ve done enough and that can be very frustrating.

“By the opening race in Melbourne on March 29 my right leg should be about 80 per cent of the strength of my left — and that’s enough to drive a car.”

Friday, January 30, 2009

BMW Sauber F1.09 Kubica, Heidfeld & Theissen

BMW Sauber rolled out its 2009 car Tuesday, believing the new vehicle will deliver on the team's target of winning the Formula One championship.

Drivers Robert Kubica and Nick Heidfeld unveiled the F1.09 car at the Cheste Circuit before Kubica took it out for an installation lap. Several hundred people, including the team crew, saw a modified car that closely resembled several of this year's new class, sporting a stocky front and slim rear.

"When we started four years ago we said that we should be fighting for the championship this season," team principal Mario Theissen said. "All the targets have been met so there is no reason not to continue." Kubica finished third and Heidfeld sixth in the 2008 drivers' standings, while BMW Sauber was third in the constructors' championship in a season where it won its first race.

The 2009 modifications are expected to create greater downforce, double engine life and change aerodynamics to allow for more overtaking. BMW Sauber managing director Walter Riedl said the changes will have the biggest impact on F1 design in 30 years.

Kubica stayed cautious despite the promise that the modifications would lead to extra excitement on the track, especially with personal safety concerns over a new front wing that is wider than the wheels.

"We have to be very careful not only in the first corner but especially when you think you have overtaken the guy and close the line, now you can easily take off his wing and then this wing is quite huge and can go under the car," said Kubica, whose car launched into a violent somersault after such a situation at the Canadian Grand Prix in 2007. "It goes under the car and you have no control anymore."

The F1.09 is also fully compliant with the KERS energy recovery system, although Theissen couldn't guarantee that the German team would be using the hybrid technology by the season-opening Australian GP on March 29.

Both Kubica and Heidfeld expect a wide-open start to the season after F1 introduced dramatic cost-cutting measures on top of car modifications, although they both felt the edge still belonged to 2008 champion Lewis Hamilton of McLaren.

"Clearly it's not a comfortable situation, with everyone fighting and trying new situations without knowing if it's the right one," Theissen said of the push to develop the cars in time for Melbourne. "It's not comfortable but it's exciting."

pic 1: BMW Sauber F1 Team BMW P86.9 Unveiling 2009
pic 2: Robert Kubica BMW Sauber F1 Team BMW P86.9 Unveiling 2009

pic 1: Nick Heidfeld BMW Sauber F1 Team BMW P86.9 Unveiling 2009
pic 2: Nick Heidfeld BMW Sauber F1 Team BMW P86.9 Unveiling 2009

pic 1: Robert Kubica BMW Sauber F1 Team BMW P86.9 Unveiling 2009
pic 2: Robert Kubica, Nick Heidfeld, Christian Klien,.. Mario Theissen, Willy Rampf BMW Sauber F1 Team BMW P86.9 Unveiling 2009

pic 1: Robert Kubica BMW Sauber F1 Team BMW P86.9 Unveiling 2009
pic 2: Robert Kubica BMW Sauber F1 Team BMW P86.9 Unveiling 2009

pic 1: Robert Kubica BMW Sauber F1 Team BMW P86.9 Unveiling 2009
pic 2: Robert Kubica BMW Sauber F1 Team BMW P86.9 Unveiling 2009

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