Thursday, February 26, 2009

DC backs Hamilton to go up another level

Wednesday 25th February 2009

David Coulthard predicts World Champion Lewis Hamilton will take his game up another notch this year after claiming his maiden title in 2008.

Hamilton narrowly missed out on the World Championship in his rookie season in 2007, but he bounced back last year to win the title in dramatic fashion in the final race of the season.

Coulthard believes the 24-year-old Hamilton could cut loose this year as he will be more relaxed now that he has a title to his name.

"If he hadn't done it in year two, there may have been an element of desperation in year three," Coulthard said.

"I think he will be a more relaxed, rounded guy with less to prove. It gives him an opportunity to unleash that last bit of his performance.

"Clearly he worked very hard and honed his talent on the racetrack. There were mistakes. Why do mistakes happen?

"At a certain point the brain doesn't quite connect with the body the way it normally does. That may be taken out of his game and take him to another level."

Source : Planet F1

Monday, February 23, 2009

F1: Good Week/Bad Week

Sunday 22nd February 2009

Bad Week

In the battle for Honda survival, the name of Rubens Barrichello has largely been forgotten. The man who virtually matched Jenson Button for pace in 2008 and outscored him on points isn't mentioned in dispatches any more. As the battle for Honda comes down to Branson versus Fry, Bruno Senna's money and name (and perhaps Takuma Sato's Japanese connection for Virgin Japan) is the one being bandied about. It will be sad for Barrichello to exit the sport without the fanfare he deserves. And at a time when intra-season testing looks to have been banned, the job of development driver, seems to have disappeared.

Good Week

The telephone lines have closed, the votes have been counted and FOTA are set to reveal the results of their global F1 survey on March 5th. If you haven't already heard - it's a "vision thing". They asked you, the fan, what you wanted from F1. The aim of the survey was... " to make Formula One commercially sustainable, environmentally friendly and compellingly attractive for spectators, TV viewers and Internet consumers alike for years to come."

What's more, FOTA are keen to press ahead with the changes for this season. One simple way of exciting a global TV audience would have been to restore the 8-screen digital service that they ran in 2002. F1 varies from most major sports on the box in that with football, rugby, cricket, basketball, ice hockey etc the natural focus is on one thing - the ball, with F1 everybody wants to see different thing at once. The technology that was proven in 2002 is even more sophisticated today - how many people would love to see a pure Ferrari channel with one screen changing between on-board shots of Massa and Raikkonen? Millions. The trouble is Bernie's sold all this expensive trackside advertising that won't get glimpsed if you spend a race inside Felipe's cockpit. That's what FOTA will be up against.

Good Week

A much better week for Toyota in Bahrain where they actually got to put some serious mileage on the TF109. The quickest time swapped between Ferrari, BMW and Toyota, and on Wednesday Timo put his car on top of the timesheets. With all three cars stopping out on track through the week, the chances of the teams achieving the reliability levels of the 2008 season looks pretty remote right now.

Bad Week

It didn't stop Kimi Raikkonen going quickest, but Ferrari's KERS device overheated and led to a three-hour delay during the Bahrain test this week. Ferrari's technical director Aldo Costa had this to say about progress on KERS: "As far as the KERS is concerned I have to say that we're quite satisfied with what we've seen so far, although there's still lots of work to do."
That's a bit like saying your girlfriend is quite pretty.

Good Week

Following the testing week from hell in which running was curtailed by sandstorms and fog, the Sakhir circuit in Bahrain showed its F1-friendly side this week. We joked that it might be now visited by a plague of locusts, but animal intervention did threaten the running. Like the Turkish GP track, the Sakhir circuit seems an irresistible draw for stray dogs.

"They came very near the track and it was a dangerous position," Bahrain Motor Federation operations officer Jassim Ebrahim told the Gulf Daily News.

"We don't know what they will do or where they will go while in the circuit, so we have to take the right precautions for them to leave the track as soon as possible."
We knew the big front wings on F1 cars would be good for something.

Good Week

If the new USF1 team sign up IndyCar racer Danica Patrick, then they're guaranteed the kind of global TV exposure that most brand managers can only dream of. Patrick says they haven't phoned her yet. "It's very flattering. I think that any time you are (mentioned) in the same sentence as Formula One, it's a flattering thing," she said. "I haven't really expressed a lot of excitement and interest in world travel. We'll see what they'll say though. Maybe they'll call."
Not wishing to be overtly sexist about it, but for a woman, that's a yes isn't it.

Bad Week

It's not a question of good or bad weeks for Honda right now. It's more like really bad weeks or not so bad weeks. This week was towards the bad end as they had to act like parents threatening to hide the remote control because their children were arguing over which channel to watch. Faced with opposite factions in the Virgin vs Management Buyout they banged on the door and threatened to sell Honda Racing to nobody if the parties didn't negotiate properly.

Good Week

Ferrari didn't dominate proceedings during the Bahrain test, but they came away with the two best times of the week. Felipe Massa stole the headlines by ending the week on top with a 1:32.162, but Kimi Raikkonen took the honours on Tuesday with a 1:32.102. Portents of a titanic struggle in the season ahead...?

Good Week

There is quiet pressure growing over the future ownership of F1. This week Red Bull boss Dieter Mateschitz weighed into the argument. The man who could reduce the grid to just 14 cars in a single stroke accused the current commercial rights owners of having no expertise or passion for motorsport. "There is just one logical and ethically justifiable owner of Formula One and that is the teams," said the Austrian entrepreneur. "That is the only way that the survival of motorsport is guaranteed on a long-term basis."

Good Week

Richard Branson has emerged from the shadows to be the only visible contender alongside a Honda Racing management buyout of the Brackley-based F1 team. Branson savours the role of saviour. He also likes to be associated with innovation, but it was a bit worrying to read his Saturday comments made on the BBC.

"I love grands prix," said the never-media-shy bearded one. "If Bernie Ecclestone can make it more cost-effective for the likes of the Virgin brand to come into the sport, and if he can champion clean motor-car racing - which is possible to do by making sure all the cars run on clean fuels - then at some stage we might be interested in getting involved."

The key words being "at some stage". So was this a negotiating ploy aimed at getting the price down, or was he genuinely showing cold feet at the last minute? The "Virgin brand" that he's touting is in competition in the UK with Sky television. It's not been unknown for media moguls to take stakes in football clubs just so they could get an inside track for when the TV rights get sold. Was Sir Dick trying to get the inside track on F1 rights and has now realised they're not as easy to come by as he thought...?

Andrew T. Davies

Source : Planet F1

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Hamilton: I'm more committed than ever

Tuesday 17th February 2009

Reigning Champ Lewis Hamilton says he's more committed than ever to winning this year's F1 World title.

Hamilton won last year's Drivers' crown at the season-ending Brazilian GP where a fifth-placed finish ensured that the Brit took the title by one point ahead of Ferrari's Felipe Massa.

But even though he already has a World title to his name, Hamilton has warned his rivals that he's more determined then ever to claim another this season.

"Winning the World Championship in Brazil seems such a long time ago now - things move so fast in Formula One, even when you're not at the racetrack!" he told the official F1 website.

"To be honest, I don't really think of myself as World Champion yet - I think that will finally sink in when I get to Melbourne for the first race - so I don't put any extra pressure on myself to live up to that.

"Obviously, becoming the Champion does take some weight off your shoulders but I don't really look too closely at it: I'm just spending every moment focusing on 2009, improving my fitness, working with the team and testing the car.

"I'm more committed than ever."

The McLaren driver is confident that his team has handed him a car capable of winning the title in the MP4-24.

But he does concede that this year's regulations throw up a lot of unknowns for the teams, which make it difficult to predict who will come out on top.

"I think every team wants to know the strength of its rivals - but that's the same every winter," he said.

"Of course, there are lots of unknowns facing us this year - new aero rules, slick tyres, KERS - and that makes it even harder to predict the order, once the season starts.

"We are working on a normal development programme with the MP4-24 and, like every team, will be working hard to ensure that the car runs smoothly on the slick tyres, and that KERS is reliable and fully operational, ahead of the new season."

Source : Planet F1

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Lewis quickest of '09-specs, Alonso closes gap

Friday 13th February 2009

Lewis Hamilton once again proved to be the quickest driver in a 2009-spec car at the Jerez circuit on Friday, although Renault's Fernando Alonso will be encouraged after closing the gap to the McLaren.

As to be expected, Sebastien Bourdais set the pace on Friday, the final day of testing for the week, as his 2008 Toro Rosso continued to dominate. The Frenchman clocked a 1:17.472 in what the team hopes will be the STR3's final outing.

"It's been a while since I've driven and it's good to get back in the groove," said Bourdais, who was confirmed as a 2009 STR driver just last week.

"We are just continuing to evaluate tyres and understand how the slicks are working, as well as trying a few things on the geometry of the car. All in all, a useful working session."

Of this year's cars, though, it was Hamilton who once again led the way, the McLaren driver posting a 1:19.632 to beat Renault rival Alonso by less than a quarter of a second.

It was an encouraging result for Alonso and Renault as the team has struggled - since now - to get the needed pace out of their R29.

Nico Rosberg was fourth for Williams, finishing ahead of Red Bull's Mark Webber. A mechanical issue, though, saw the Australian sidelined for part of the morning's running.

"Apart from a few minor niggles, which are to be expected with a brand new car, this first test has produced pleasing results," said Head of Race Engineering, Ian Morgan.

"RB5 proved to be generally reliable and its performance seems encouraging straight out of the box."

1 S. Bourdais Scuderia Toro Rosso 1:17.472 117 laps
2 L. Hamilton McLaren 1:19.632 94 laps
3 F. Alonso Renault 01:19.846 109 laps
4 N. Rosberg Williams 1:21.217 71 laps
5 M. Webber Red Bull 1:21.313 62 laps

Source : Planet F1

Friday, February 13, 2009

Jerez: Bourdais leads the way

Thursday 12th February 2009

Seb Bourdais marked his first outing as a confirmed 2009 Toro Rosso race driver with a fastest lap time at Jerez on Thursday.

Only last Friday was Bourdais confirmed for this year's Championship, taking the final available seat on the 2009 grid.

Less than a week later and the Frenchman was back in action for Toro Rosso, safe in the knowledge that his F1 career had been handed a lifeline.

And he once again proved his speed to the team, clocking a 1:18.493 to take the P1 slot on the fourth day of testing.

Meanwhile Lewis Hamilton may have been second overall, however, the McLaren driver was the quickest of those using their 2009-spec cars.

Completing 93 laps in his MP4-24, the reigning F1 World Champ posted a best time of 1:20.737.

"Today's test gave me the first opportunity to drive MP4-24 in warm, dry conditions - and I'm very encouraged by what I felt," he said.

"The car feels strong, very similar to last year's car, in fact. It doesn't take long to get used to the new buttons in the cockpit but the real test for everyone now is to understand the slick tyres ahead of the first race in Melbourne next month."

Seb Vettel, taking over from Mark Webber for the day, was third quickest, however, he was sidelined for part of the day due to some bodywork damage to his RB5 that took a couple of hours to fix.

Williams' Kazuki Nakajima was fourth quickest while once again it was a Renault bringing up the rear.

Fernando Alonso was fifth quickest, finishing half a second off Hamilton's pace. "Today was all about getting mileage on the car, especially with the new KERS system," said Alonso.

"It was my first full dry day in the car and so I was able to learn a lot. We completed lots of laps, which is encouraging and now we will start working on the set-up of the car so that I can get more comfortable with it."

1 S. Bourdais Scuderia Toro Rosso 01:18.493 126 laps
2 L. Hamilton McLaren 01:20.737 93 laps
3 S. Vettel Red Bull 01:20.738 92 laps
4 K. Nakajima Williams 01:20.898 92 laps
5 F. Alonso Renault 01:21.307 133 laps

source : Planet F1

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


Finally, Red Bull has launched their 2009 challenger, the RB5. It looks ok, not as good as Mark Webber said it was gonna be. But then again, Mark does talk too much for his own good.

The nose is small and sharp, the body looks good, sexy but the front wing does not look as good as McLaren's. Overall it looks better than Renault's and Toyota. The pictures are here on F1Fanatic. Looking forward to seeing Vettel making some progress up the grids and putting Webber in his place soon.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Max: Lewis should head to Ferrari

Max is obviously out of his mind. Why would Lewis want to go to a cheating team and make them win some more? They have enough wins with the help of FIA. Drop dead Max.

Thursday 5th February 2009

Max Mosley has urged Lewis Hamilton to swap McLaren for Ferrari for "at least one season."

Hamilton made his F1 debut with McLaren last year, immediately making a name for himself as a force to be reckoned with, finishing second in that year's Championship.

The Brit then went one better in 2008 when he clinched the Drivers' Championship title by one point over Ferrari's Felipe Massa.

Hamilton will continue with McLaren this season, having signed a long-term dealwith the Woking team.

Mosley, though, has urged him not to stay with McLaren forever.

"If I was a racing driver I would want to have driven a Ferrari for at least one season," the FIA President told The Mirror.

"Gerhard Berger told me to win at Monza for Ferrari was an experience you could not imagine."

Source : Planet F1

FOTA contemplate a refuelling ban from 2010

Thursday 5th February 2009

The Formula One Teams' Association (FOTA) has put forward a plan whereby refuelling will be scrapped in 2010 and all teams will have an enforced two-week break.

FOTA, like the FIA, is looking for ways to cut the costs of competing in Formula One with some teams believed to have spent over €200 million on last year's Championship.

During a meeting earlier this week FOTA proposed a few ideas that would help teams and manufacturer keep their heads above water in the middle of the world's economic crisis.

According to Autosport, not only did FOTA reaffirm its commitment to supply independent outfits with cheap engines and gearboxes from 2010, but also proposed scrapping refuelling.

Discussions were also had about the introduction of standard telementry as well as a two-week break whereby teams would not be allowed to do any work, even at their factories.

FOTA is also keen to implement ideas put forward by fans of Formula One with the teams expressing their desire to improve grand prix racing for the spectators.

Source : Planet F1

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

In-season test ban to be lifted?

Monday 2nd February 2009

Formula One's agreement to ban in-season testing is set to be scrapped, according to reports.

The F1 teams had collectively, under the Formula One Teams Association (FOTA), agreed to ban in-season testing as a way to reduce the costs of competing in F1.

However, given that this year's new regulations, which include F1's first ever season using the Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS), many of the teams are reconsidering the ban.

"KERS is new for everybody and no one has achieved the level of reliability with it that we would like to have," a team member explained to

"It makes sense to have a transitional year, with less testing than before, but with a few tests early on in the season, to help everybody get on top of their problems.

"It's not on everybody's interest to see only five or six cars finish races, so we're trying to get an agreement on a change of the rules for 2009."

Source : Planet F1

Monday, February 2, 2009

Ferrari and McLaren play nice

Sunday 1st February 2009

They may be bitter rivals on the track, but Ferrari and McLaren are beginning to work together off it.

With the 'Stepney-gate' saga of 2007, in which McLaren were fined a record $100 million and stripped of all their constructors' points for being found in possession of secret Ferrari technical data, seemingly a thing of the past, the two teams have vowed to work together for the good of the sport.

Ferrari's media chief Luca Colajanni this week became the first contemporary employee of the Italian team to visit McLaren's Woking factory.

"It was definitely a strange feeling," Colajanni said of his visit.

"If you had told me a year ago that I would be doing this I would not have believed you," he added.

The backdrop of an economic crisis has meant that Formula One has been forced to cut costs, and the formation last July of the Formula One Teams Association (FOTA) to represent teams in talks with the governing International Automobile Federation (FIA) and commercial boss Bernie Ecclestone, has meant that teams have been working together with a common interest in mind.

Ron Dennis believes that this co-operation through FOTA has had a great impact on the working relationships of the teams.

"The result of our co-operation, supported by all the other teams, has already been profound," he told the official F1 website

"FOTA has already achieved great things, and it will achieve even greater things in the weeks, months and years to come.

"We're not complacent; we're not reluctant to embrace radical change; we're not hidebound by on-track rivalries.

"Working together for the good of the future of F1, we'll continue to devise powerful strategies and innovations intended to improve our sport so as to make it more affordable, more environmentally friendly and more appealing to spectators and TV viewers," he added.

Source : Planet F1