Tuesday, June 30, 2009
It's quite good how they managed to make Lewis and Steve seem seamless on the screen, though the acting and timing could use some work. It's interesting also to note that the car Lewis drives is the MP4-24. How could a 60s Le Mans car compete against a 2009 F1 car? Still interesting what-if scenario.
But, all is not as serene as we would like to think. Assuming that Mad Max really leaves the office, who would be his replacement? Is there a suitable candidate out there? I'm sure there is an experienced administrator with experience and passion in motorsports. But will this person be allowed to govern? Or would Max rather have a stooge in place for him to govern via proxy? The name Jean Todt has been bandied around and I for one am hoping that that is a very sick joke and that we'll get over it in the morning.
Jean has been linked to Mosley many times and was from Ferrari. It would be biased (if not already) of the FIA to have Todt as president. Plus he is currently spending a million dollars of my money on holidays every year while not really promoting my country. And he's ugly.
Talking about ugly, not really, sorry I joke. Kubica is fast running out of engines it seems. At this rate he's gonna be really pissed at BMW before the end of this season as he's not only driving a slow car but the lest few races he'll have tom start at the back of the grid due to engine change penalties. Poor Kubica.
Next year's regulations are to be the same as 2009 but with some changes. I'm not sure about the details as it has not been published yet but one thing is for sure, re-fuelling will be banned. I'm not too sure how to make of that as I was not watching F1 when there was no re-fuelling. There will still be pitstops for tyres I suppose but those stops will be super fast, no more overtaking in the pits..which is good. But setting up a car will be more difficult as you'll have to start the race with a full load. Not making it to the end when you are leading would be a pain too.
No surprise really that Brawn has dominated this season. Funny thing is it still surprises and it's still interesting waiting and watching the next race even when we know how strong Brawn is. Most F1 fans know why Brawn is so strong but did you know they had access to 5 wind tunnels? 5? Does Honda have that much money? They were said to have spent EUR500 million. No wonder the car is perfect.
And finally, a bit of good news and something to cheer about. Ron Dennis might return to the paddock IF Max fucks off. I'd be happy to see Ron back in the pits. He'll be able to help McLaren reduce the mistakes they make in the pits during races. I wouldn't want them to turn into another Ferrari with blunder after blunder in the pits. Welcome back Ron!
Tuesday 30th June 2009
Kimi Raikkonen will make his World Rally Championship debut in his native Finland at the end of July.
Raikkonen, F1 World Champion in 2007, has already competed in three non-championship rallies this year and will enter Rally Finland in a Fiat Abarth Grande Punto.
His co-driver will be compatriot Kaj Lindstrom, who was formerly co-driver to four-times WRC champion Tommi Makinen.
"Rally Finland is not going to be easy for sure," Lindstrom told autosport.com. "The rallies we have done so far have been smaller events, a three-day WRC round is much longer and more intense than those national events.
"We have two days to go through the recce (reconnaissance) and make the notes. Kimi makes very good pace notes but there will be pressure on for the recce.
"One of the hardest things for Kimi will be the speed of this event. Rally Finland and the roads used are so fast, like nothing we have done before.
"But, let's not forget, this guy is a pretty good driver. He's very talented and I'm sure he will cope fine."
Rally Finland starts the Friday after the Hungarian Grand Prix in Budapest on July 26.
Raikkonen has competed in two rallies in Finland and one in Italy since the start of the year.
He has largely struggled since taking the F1 Drivers' title, however - Raikkonen's most recent win coming in Spain last year, with just 10 points coming from eight grands prix so far in 2009.
Source : Planet F1
Tuesday 30th June 2009
Ferrari will reportedly confirm the signing of Fernando Alonso at their home race, the Italian Grand Prix.
Rumours of his pending move to Ferrari have dogged Alonso for the past three years, however, instead of joining the Italian marque he spent the 2007 season at McLaren before returning to Renault.
But his days at Renault are reportedly numbered.
Spanish daily Diario AS is claiming that on the Friday of the Italian Grand Prix, Ferrari will confirm that Alonso will be joining them next season, having signed a five-year contract.
It is not known, though, whether he'll be replacing Kimi Raikkonen or Felipe Massa, who have both had a trying start to this year's campaign.
But whoever stays, his days too could be numbered as AS speculates that Ferrari are also interested in signing Sebastian Vettel for the 2011 season.
Source : Planet F1
Friday, June 26, 2009
Phew! What a relief, at least we'll still go racing next year with everybody and most importantly, we'll be rid of Max (and hopefully his goons too). It's just too much of a dictatorship and crappy rules with Max around which really fucks up the fans, i.e. you and me. I really hope Max goes for good but he has a tendency to have his dirty coils everywhere. In fact, he is already trying to find excuses to stay on.
The most important thing is FOTA have won and the sport will be run properly with the fans, teams and sponsors in mind. Hopefully, the new management will seriously look into what the fans want and what is good for the sport.
What we need is a unified rules, which does not favour one team above the rest (read Ferrari), rules that does not change every 6 months, stewards that do not bend the rules to favor certain teams, outright stupid stewards with double standards and a governing body that comes out hare-brained ideas that wastes money, time and effort.
We as fans just want to watch the show, support our teams and drivers. We want to see the results for ourselves on the track, not decided in some court room. Please FOTA, bring security and stability to the sport so we may watch in peace.
And on that note, condolences and peace to Michael jackson who passed away yesterday. He was the man.
Thursday 25th June 2009
Bernie Ecclestone insists there were no winners in Wednesday's deal between FOTA and the FIA, despite the former getting pretty much everything they demanded and more.
With the threat of a breakaway series on the cards, which saw Ecclestone facing the lose of his £1.5billion per year empire, the F1 supremo sat down with FOTA chairman Luca di Montezemolo and Max Mosley to thrash out a deal.
The announcement finally came on Wednesday afternoon with Mosley informing the world that next year there will be just one Championship, it will be run under this year's regulations and that he will step down from his role of FIA President in October.
But while that may seem that FOTA got everything they wanted, Ecclestone says it was a compromise and not a win/lose outcome.
"No winners, just a good compromise," said the 78-year-old.
"I'm obviously very, very happy common sense has prevailed which I've always believed it would because the alternative was not good at all," remarked the 78-year-old.
"I also must say I'm very, very, very happy the teams have come to their senses to stop spending large amounts of money."
Source : Planet F1
Thursday, June 25, 2009
The FIA has released the following statement after the World Motor Sport Council meeting in Paris...
The World Motor Sport Council met in Paris on 24 June 2009. The following decisions were taken:
Formula One World Championship
All currently competing teams have committed to the FIA Formula One World Championship.
There will be no alternative series or Championship and the rules for 2010 onwards will be the 2009 regulations as well as further regulations agreed prior to 29 April 2009.
As part of this agreement, the teams will, within two years, reduce the costs of competing in the Championship to the level of the early 1990s. The manufacturer teams have agreed to assist the new entries for 2010 by providing technical assistance.
The manufacturer teams have further agreed to the permanent and continuing role of the FIA as the sport's governing body. They have also committed to the commercial arrangements for the FIA Formula One World Championship until 2012 and have agreed to renegotiate and extend this contract before the end of that period.
All teams will adhere to an upgraded version of the governance provisions of the 1998 Concorde Agreement.
The following teams have been accepted for the 2010 FIA Formula One World Championship.
Scuderia Ferrari Malboro (Ferrari)
Vodafone McLaren Mercedes (McLaren Mercedes)
BMW Sauber F1 Team (BMW Sauber)
Renault F1 Team (Renault)
Panasonic Toyota Racing (Toyota)
Scuderia Toro Rosso (STR TBA)
Red Bull Racing (RBR TBA)
AT&T Williams (Williams Toyota)
Force India F1 Team (Force India Mercedes)
Brawn GP Formula One Team (Brawn TBA)
Campos Meta Team (Campos Cosworth)
Manor Grand Prix (Manor Cosworth)
Team US F1 (Team US F1 Cosworth)
In view of this new agreement and with the prospect of a stable future for Formula One, FIA President Max Mosley has confirmed his decision not to stand for re-election in October this year.
Source : Planet F1
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Lewis Hamilton is hopeful for at least a small upturn in form at the Nurburgring after spending much of the British GP fighting at the back of the field.
Hamilton's British GP was anything but a happy return to home ground for the Brit but he did at least put in some of the better racing on display as he fought with former nemesis Fernando Alonso - albeit over 16th place.
Now, turning his attention to the next race in Germany, Hamilton is hoping that McLaren have learnt some lessons from Silverstone that can result in an upturn at engine partner Mercedes's home race.
"It's still not going to be a night-and-day change that makes the difference, but I'm hoping that we can gain some advantage to help improve our results," he told his website.
"I'm looking forward to the Nürburgring - the home race for Mercedes-Benz; I'm hoping that we will have some huge improvements for the race as it would be great to give our second home crowd something to cheer and feel proud about, but we'll see.
"Places like Hungary, Valencia and Singapore should hopefully be stronger for us and so there is 'light at the end of the tunnel' for the end of season push.
"We need a competitive car before the end of the season so we can learn as much as we possibly can for next season."
Source : Planet F1
Monday 22nd June 2009
Brawn GP chief executive Nick Fry has warned FIA president Max Mosley that FOTA's threat of a breakaway series is not an idle one.
The message comes ahead of what Fry sees as a "critical" meeting of the World Motor Sport Council in Paris on Wednesday as they address the row that has threatened the existence of Formula One.
Mosley has so far belittled certain members of FOTA - describing them as "loonies" - and derided the organisation itself, claiming it has no chance of succeeding.
Mosley is also showing scant regard for the fans if he believes they would rather pay to watch a diluted version of F1 with unknown teams and drivers compared to another series that includes Ferrari, McLaren, Lewis Hamilton, Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso.
The 69-year-old seems to think the teams will back down, but he is either miscalculating their resolve, or is foolishly misguided as the feeling from the paddock throughout the course of the British Grand Prix is that FOTA are united and standing firm.
Outlining FOTA's position, Fry said: "The alternative championship is a very realistic proposition. It's not an idle threat as some people hope.
"Is it the optimum solution? Maybe not, because we have a great championship here and it's better to improve what you've got as opposed to doing something new.
"But if we don't feel we can improve this to the level required then there won't be an option.
"We will have to do an alternative championship, and plans for that are very will progressed.
"It is clear in our mind that we could develop a championship which would have all the star teams, star drivers and the big sponsors.
"We would also offer a better deal to the fans who, at the moment, are paying through the nose to watch F1."
There is a lot at stake for all concerned, not least for F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone as his sport stands to lose £1.5billion in annual investment.
The eight teams - Ferrari, McLaren, Renault, Toyota, BMW Sauber, Red Bull Racing, Toro Rosso and Brawn GP - brought to the table 47% of F1's total revenue generation in 2008.
"The meeting on Wednesday is critical to what happens," added Fry.
"The teams have very clearly stated how they see the future - we have entered the championship with conditions and the question now is whether those conditions will be fulfilled.
"The ball is very much in the court of the FIA and we hope there is a balanced discussion at the World Council on Wednesday."
The meeting, involving Mosley and Ecclestone, is to be attended by Ferrari president and FOTA chairman Luca di Montezemolo who has so far been the staunch lobbyist against FIA's new rules for 2010.
Di Montezemolo has made no secret of his desire to seek alternative challenges for Ferrari, despite the possibility of a lengthy legal battle with world motor sport's governing body.
Further addressing the logistics of a rival series, Fry remarked: "It's a question of time.
"It's now the middle of June and we have to do something before next year, so a lot of work would need to be done.
"Time and getting everything in place are the main things, but I don't think there's any major risk.
"All the equipment is here, and there are many circuits around the world that would welcome a Formula One race.
"There are no problems with places to race, and I haven't yet met a major sponsor not behind the idea."
Worringly for the FIA, the new entrants who had been waiting in the wings to join F1, are now defecting towards FOTA.
Lola and N.Technology, who were on the reserve list, withdrew their entries last week, whilst former BAR team principal David Richards' Prodrive organisation are also watching developments with interest.
"I believe most of the new teams either have, or will, join the FOTA group," announced Fry.
Source : Planet F1
Monday, June 22, 2009
Plenty of home support for Hamilton and Button
Having won by more than a minute last year, the 24-year-old returned this weekend as reigning world champion but qualified next-to-last before being lapped on Sunday.
FIA stewards frown upon doughnuts, but Hamilton lit up his tyres after only delivering 16th place for his compatriots in the race.
It also annoyed his McLaren engineers, protective of the V8 unit that will have to be used elsewhere this season. Hamilton confirmed with a smile that "the team were moaning a little bit.
He had said after qualifying that the local fans are the ones who are really helping me to get through" the misery of his current lack of competitiveness.
"I tried to show my appreciation on the (slowing down) lap and I had a little bit of fun," said Hamilton.
© CAPSIS International
Source : F1-Live
Lewis Hamilton says he gave his all during Sunday's British GP but that the car's shear lack of pace negated all his efforts.
Despite lapping the Silverstone circuit around 15th place for much of the race, Hamilton did offer some of the best action of the afternoon as himself and former McLaren team-mate Fernando Alonso demonstrated why they've won World titles.
Even though they were fighting for 16th place at the time, the duo went at it tooth and nail with first Hamilton getting by Alonso on the inside of Copse and then Alonso repaying the pass a few corners later.
But the epic battle yielded few rewards other than the cheer of the fans, as Hamilton finished the British GP down in 16th place.
"I gave it my all today," said the McLaren driver. "Despite fighting for the lower positions, I was absolutely on the limit for the whole race.
"We knew it would be difficult, and I enjoyed my battle with Fernando, but we didn't have the pace today to get into the points.
"The best thing about this weekend has been the fans: they really gave me some consolation by cheering me on throughout the race. I would love to have given them a result to make them happy and my country proud, but we still have a lot of work ahead of us before that will be realistic."
Source : Planet F1
Unfortunately, the racing was secondary in Silverstone...
F1 Talks Itself Down
In airing their dirty linen as the headline item on Friday's news bulletins, F1 proved that not all publicity is good publicity. The ongoing power battle that is crippling the sport is supposedly over money and the planned introduction of a budget cap. The irony, then, is that by self-destructing over proposed financial constraints F1 has made itself a less viable vehicle for financial input than ever before. What business or industry is going to risk investment in the sport at a time of economic recession when the sport's governance is so chaotic and its future so uncertain? Bickering over the terms of a budget cap is meaningless when the bickering puts a budget on the sport's income.
For the president of the sport's governing body to then refer to the teams as "loonies" doesn't just contradict the tenor of his own argument - that he is acting in the team's best financial interests - but damns his status. The authority of his position is precarious, if not redundant.
There's Too Much Of One Voice
Even if there will be no winners in the ongoing civil war, Mosley looks to be losing the fight. His claim to have made "concession after concession" is not bluster. The idea of a two-tier championship has been scrapped. The budget cap has been increased from £30m to £40m. The threat of legal action has reputedly been withdrawn and replaced with a promise of more talks. So he says that a deal "is very close"...And still the FOTA teams say they are pushing forward with their plans to breakaway.
Something has to give but what more is there to give than a someone in the form of the FIA President? The impression that this has become a matter of personality is reinforced with every passing concession offered without resolution and every passing day in which the rebel eight teams remain adamant that they are not for turning. Mosley is the original born survivor but his sacrifice might be the only salvation available.
In one of the weekend's salient moments, Bernie Ecclestone passed up an opportunity to endorse Mosley's presidency and his position weakened further when the FIA reneged on their pledge to publish their official entry list for 2010.
The teams he/they has on side are not worth the paper they are written on when compared to the weight of Ferrari and the remaining FOTA teams.
Ed Gorman of The Times probably wrote for many when he opined on Saturday: 'It is time for Max to see that he is the problem here. However well-intentioned he may be...he should realise that he either has to completely change his tune and his relationship with the sport and that of the FIA or stand aside and acknowledge that it is time to hand over to others.'
Silverstone Suffers Racing Anti-Climax
In the circumstances, this was not the race that F1 needed. In the wake of the Vettel-led procession, the 2009 British GP will be remembered not for the showpiece two hours of Sunday afternoon but the two days of bickering and politicking that preceded it. As is too often the case in F1, the sport was more entertaining off the track than on it.
Silverstone is considered a classic circuit, and its sweeping corners appeal to many of the drivers. But its design does contain one substantial flaw, that only rain can disguise, neatly summarised by Jenson Button's lament "it is impossible to overtake here".
The effects of dirty air may have accounted for Button's failure to catch up the final yards to Nico Rosberg having taken a second a lap off the German for the previous half-dozen, but neither is Silverstone a circuit that rewards a low-fuelled charge. It's a blocker's paradise. Something must be substantially wrong when a driver of Fernando Alonso's quality cannot find a way around Nick Heidfeld's BMW when the damage it has sustained makes it two seconds slower than a Force India. And still Alonso couldn't find a way past...
Button's Lead Is Still A Comfort
It was, though, the result that the sport needed, with Red Bull's trouncing of Brawn coming at the end of a week that saw one publicity-hungry bookmaker pay out on Jenson Button for the World Championship. Vettel's victory, especially being so comprehensive, will sew some doubts but, for all the talk of this being a potential turning point, his supporters should not be unduly concerned - at least not yet.
The characteristics of Silverstone flattered Red Bull just as the cool weather hampered the Brawns and Button in particular (he's less aggressive on his tyres than Barrichello and so suffered accordingly in qualifying). Red Bull have undoubtedly moved forward but Button is probably correct in asserting that "the gap isn't as big as it looks - it was just that the conditions didn't suit us here".
Only if the Brawns have no answer to the Red Bulls in the forecast heat of Germany and Hungary - conditions in which the Brawns have excelled so far - will there be genuine cause for concern. And even then, Button's position will remain formidable unless another team proves faster than the Brawns along with Red Bull. Even with all their problems in Silverstone, the Brawns were still a respectable second best.
Alonso And Hamilton Are In The Wrong Place
Something is wrong, too, with F1 when two of its best drivers are reduced to scrapping over 16th and when a scrap for 16th is the pinnacle of the on-track entertainment on offer.
Hamilton's driving at Silverstone was erratic at best and messy at worst. But that is almost incidental. After the debacle of Australia and Malaysia, and with his McLaren car probably without equal for aerodynamic shortfall, what mattered more is his display of positive character. His team are going backwards, but Hamilton at least is moving forward with his reputation and PR. Reaching rock bottom is not without possibility.
Rosberg Makes His Claim
A valuable weekend for Williams with the Grove outfit collecting a decent haul of points. Once again, it was Nico Rosberg who carried the team's fight but he remains an ambiguous figure in the F1 field. Is he a top-rate driver? Or is he being flattered in comparison to the waywardness of Kazuki Nakajima?
Assuming that F1 remains F1 in 2010, Rosberg should be an in-demand figure over the winter. The politicking has distracted from the annual game of speculation but it wont be long before the rumour mill whirls back into action and Rosberg should be a central figure. There are positions up for grabs surely at both Renault and McLaren and proably also Brawn. Compared to Piquet, Kovalainen and Barrichello, Rosberg, for all his ambiguity, would surely constitute a step up.
Source : Planet F1
Star of the Race
Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Winner
After Vettel set nine fastest laps in the opening 13 he never looked like he was going to be threatened for the win. Had his team-mate not done so badly in qualifying on Saturday, then it might have been a fair old ding dong at the front. But from the moment he got into Copse first (and didn't put it off the track in the opening lap) with Webber tucked up behind Barrichello, his win was assured.
He went into the first pit-stops with a 23-second advantage and though Nigel Mansell has hauled that back in as many laps at Silverstone, that was in the days when cars could overtake.
Overtaking Move of the Race
Lap 22, Lewis Hamilton on Nick Heidfeld
Heidfeld emerged from the pitlane and must have been told that he had a fast-approaching Lewis Hamilton exiting Copse. As the McLaren's momentum took it alongside the BMW you feared for a 190mph collision as they both competed for the single line through Becketts. It looked like the sensible move for Hamilton was to lift and let Heidfeld have the place because there must have been an element of doubt in the World Champion's mind that he'd seen the approaching McLaren.
Lewis didn't lift and Heidfeld had to yield at the last moment. So instead of being 19th, Lewis was now 18th...
It was a similar kind of thing though the 185 mph Copse Corner with Alonso, but in that overtaking scrap both cars knew exactly where each other was.
Mark Webber, Red Bull, 2nd
Mark knew that his chance of a win on Sunday was compromised by his Saturday grid slot, and it's unlike him to make excuses. He blamed Kimi Raikkonen for ruining his hot lap on Saturday, "Kimi was dreaming", but as he had two chances to beat Vettel, he must have blown one of those laps all by himself. He dropped 0.6 in Sector 1 of his penultimate hot lap in Q3 and didn't improve, before going just a little quicker in the final lap when he encountered the wandering Ferrari.
In the race he knew he was stuffed after two laps of following the BrawnGP and finding no way past. Still, the strategy got him second and he's just 3.5 points behind his team-mate which will guarantees no thought of team orders for a few races to come.
Rubens Barrichello, BrawnGP, 3rd
Rubens managed to work all the buttons and got a great start and almost had a look at Vettel going into Copse. Had the start/finish straight been the one in Barcelona he might have led on Lap 1. ow that would have made for an interesting race...
After Webbo got past he had a relatively easy run to third place given the fact that he was always going to be running longer than Rosberg and Massa in the second stint.
It means he's edged closer to Jenson's points total and is still ahead of Vettel with some nice warm races to come.
Felipe Massa, Ferrari, 4th
Felipe Massa surprised his fans, his team-mate, his team-manager and himself by coming fourth in a race where he was probably targeting a 6th or 7th place finish. It was an unfortunate slip-up at the exit of Stowe that let Jenson Button by on Lap 2, but it didn't interfere with his race strategy at all. Last year he spent the race gently spinning, this year was a lot better. This is probably the result he was expecting in Istanbul.
Nico Rosberg, Williams, 5th
Rosberg made an important pass on Trulli on the opening lap which ultimately helped him keep Button at bay till the end of the race.
Jenson Button, BrawnGP, 6th
Jenson got tucked up behind a slow-starting Jarno Trulli at the start and it was just too tight to have a go up the inside line, and too busy to try the outside. There are very few other tracks where his options will be so limited. We have seen Barrichello try stupid and risky moves to get places back in other races this year and Button decided very sensibly to go for the percentages - though that was after he thought about muscling past Massa into Becketts.
BBC's Jake Humphrey
When it comes to interviewers, Max Mosley probably thought that a former host of children's television programme Bamzooki wouldn't present too much of a challenge to his condescending platitudes at Silverstone. He came out of the interview with Humphrey having called certain members of FOTA "loonies" and having labelled Flavio Briatore as the man who wants to succeed Bernie Ecclestone. Those were surely not part of the presidential script.
Humphrey is just getting better and better at his role, there was less inane banter this time; if only they could lose the small eejit and the prep school latin master. Transfer Crofty from Five Live, bring in Mike Gascoyne again and use Ted Kravtitz more and there you have it.
Ferrari might have started the season in a similar hole, but whereas the Maranello team has started showing signs of getting near the podium, McLaren, if anything, are going backwards. They were the slowest Mercedes team at Silverstone and both drivers looked like they had a real battle to control their cars. Hungary can't come quickly enough.
Hamilton threw everything he had to gain the slightest of places but knew he was just there as cabaret from the moment his car refused to grip in Q1 on Saturday. Kovalainen had an anonymous race with a big fuel load. Anonymous, that is, until Bourdais tried to pass him into Vale. The Frenchman was right when he said he shouldn't have been wandering across the racing line more than once. You can block, then adopt the racing line for the corner; you can't block, go back, then block again, which is what the Finn appeared to do. Such was the speed of impact that it looked like Bourdais was only just beginning to make his dive down the inside when Kovalainen hit the brakes, so there can't have been that much room left for a successful move.
And just a word (very important this) about Lewis's girlfriend. It always looks like Nicole comes to grands prix dressed as though she were about to open a fete.
With Force India's rapid improvement, they are now the slowest on the grid.
World Cricket Superstar Kevin Pieterson
He was Vijay Mallya's special guest at the British Grand Prix and was ambling about the grid in a Force India jacket, yet Martin Brundle failed to spot England's finest, most spectacular batsman.
Having said for a year that if Donington isn't ready in 2010 they won't go back to Silverstone, this weekend Bernie said they would. Perhaps it's the fact that 300,000 people were prepared to put up with the squalor of not having pit buildings in the shape of mock castles or faux stately homes that's made him change his mind.
For a litigious man who might be about to lose his main source of income he looked remarkably calm. That was the biggest mystery of the weekend, Bernard's lack of anger. Max named his co-investor in Queen's Park Rangers - Flavio Briatore - as the man who wanted to be the new Bernie and yet from Ecclestone's demeanour it seemed like it was just another F1 race weekend. Come to think of it, the FOTA session in Monaco was held on Flav's boat with Bernie attending, and the pre-Silverstone FOTA meeting was held at Flavio's HQ. Hmmmmm.
Max was supposed to reveal the new teams that were going to join the mighty USF1, Campos, Manor Motorsport, Force India and Williams this weekend. He said this was the latest he could leave the announcement because they had to start work on their new cars immediately. As he has got interest from seven more teams (there being 12 to start with, three already announced and two have backed out), then he could outline the 2010 grid straight away.
He has already said that the FOTA teams would be free to start their own series and that F1 can survive without Ferrari, so why doesn't he just get on with it? Or is he just posturing?
Memo to Jordan from the producer:
* Make your questions less than eight sentences long. People are dying from malnutrition during them
* Stop crawling up Bernie Ecclestone's arse, he doesn't owe you money any more.
* Don't mention the Jordan team all the time, nobody really gives that much of a *****
* Try and make sense at least 50% of the time
Source : Planet F1
Sunday, June 21, 2009
Sebastian Vettel claimed pole position for Sunday's British GP beating a BrawnGP driver, but it wasn't the one British fans were hoping for.
Vettel, who had the measure of his rivals for two of the weekend's three practice sessions, put his revised RB5 to good use on Saturday afternoon, taking pole position with a 1:19.509.
That put him ahead of Rubens Barrichello who finished 0.347s behind the German, while Button could only manage sixth place on his home grid. Mark Webber was third for Red Bull, finishing ahead of Jarno Trulli and Kazuki Nakajima.
Meanwhile, a huge accident for Adrian Sutil with 24s left on the clock in Q1 cost Lewis Hamilton any chance of making it through to the next session. He will start P19. Sutil, thankfully, escaped unhurt although his Force India was destroyed.
Following showers in the morning, conditions were still cloudy with sunny intervals and the possibility of the odd shower. The track temperature was only 25C with an ambient of 16C.
Adrian Sutil set the first sub 1:21 lap in the heavily revised Force India. His 1:20.860 was soon beaten by Bourdais, 1:20.590 and then steadily whittled down by Jarno Trulli on a three-lap stint - 1:19.915, 1:19.356 and finally 1:18.886.
The Red Bulls cast this aside, first Mark Webber set P1 with a 1:18.763 and then Vettel reduced it to a 1:18.685 before Webber reclaimed it with a 1:18.674.
Both Brawns looked unlikely to depose the Red Bulls but were running in the top ten, while the Mclarens looked ponderously slow.
Coming into the final three minutes of the session and the danger zone was: 11.Kubica, 12.Fisichella, 13.Bourdais, 14.Sutil, 15.Hamilton, 16.Raikkonen, 17.Heidfeld, 18.Massa, 19.Buemi, 20.Kovalainen
As the time ticked down Raikkonen put his Ferrari up into P6, Kovalainen could only manage P17 from the first lap of two, before elevating himself to a precarious P14 on the second. Nick Heidfeld managed to get himself into P12 and Lewis Hamilton was setting a faster time when the session was red-flagged.
Adrian Sutil's Force India had suffered brake failure turning into Abbey and run straight on into the barriers, the car spinning round and hitting backwards. The Force India was a major wreck and with just half a minute left on the clock it meant that no-one could improve their time from that point onward.
Kazuki Nakajima had just managed to set the fastest time with an impressive 1:18.530 and Jenson Button had hauled himself up to 5th, but Lewis Hamilton was stranded down in 19th place. So out went:
It was the third time in a row that the World Champion had exited in Q1 and was also a disappointment for the Force India team who had hoped to get at least one, if not both cars into Q2 having shown improved form in practice.
The track temperature had crept up a degree for Q2 but not enough to suit the Brawns which thrive on warm tarmac.
Felipe Massa steered his Ferrari to the first P1 time of the session at 1:19.257 which was put into context by an early-running Mark Webber and a 1:18.638 set on hard tyres, followed by a superb1:18.209 which meant he wouldn't have to run again.
The time stood up until the very last seconds of the session, but with three minutes left the dropzone looked like this: 8.Glock, 9.Raikkonen, 10.Massa, 11.Button, 12.Kubica, 13.Piquet, 14.Heidfeld, 15.Kovalainen
Nelson Piquet Junior put a wheel on the grass at the exit of Woodcote and ruined a hot lap. Rosberg improved to P4, Kovalainen could only manage P13, Raikkonen jumped to P3 with the fastest first sector of the weekend, Massa could only manage P8, Button posted P7, Rubens improved to P3, Glock moved to P8.
Drivers had been fuelled for at least two hot laps and Button had slipped to P9 before regaining P8 and Alonso's last dash put him into P9. Felipe Massa had slipped to P11, but his subsequent lap was not quicker.
Then, at the very close, Sebastian Vettel showed who the fastest Red Bull runner was with the fastest lap of the GP weekend, a 1:18.119. So out went:
Massa will have been disappointed to make his exit, but his time was almost 0.4 shy of team-mate Kimi Raikkonen's time.
Only three men had taken pole in 2009 and it looked likely that Mark Webber might make it four as the session kicked off.
Barrichello set provisional pole with a 1:21.417, Vettel easily beat it with a 1:20.863 while Jenson Button slotted into P2 (would this be one of Jenson's last minute rescues). Rubens re-took P1 with a 1:20.536 when he had more heat in his tyres second time round.
Vettel didn't have such a quantum improvement from lap to lap but he was able to reduce the P1 time to 1:20.404. Mark Webber had set a sluggish first lap good enough for only P7, but second time round he scorched to a 1:20.040 taking provisional pole by a massive 0.4 of a second.
So, after the first runs, the order was: Webber, Vettel, Barrichello, Rosberg, Button, Trulli, Alonso, Raikkonen, Glock, Nakajima.
Into the final runs (some one-lap, some two-lap) and Rubens was the first to get into the 1:19s with an exceptionally good 1:19.856, Vettel took P1 off him with a 1:19.509 but it looked likely that Mark Webber would continue his massive advantage. Trulli edged into P4, Rosberg to P5 and then Button re-established himself in P5.
Meanwhile Mark Webber had a disastrous first sector and instead of setting a 25.5 down to the Hangar Straight timing point, he put in a 26.1 - that lap was blown. His second hot lap suffered from his tyres going away and he could only manage a 1:19.868 good enough for P3.
Vettel had improved by 0.9 from lap to lap, Barrichello by 0.8 and Mark by just 0.15 and that was pole lost. At the very last moment Kazuki Nakajima rewarded Williams with a P5 start, demoting Button to P6 and beating his team-mate by 0.15 for a change.
The true picture will only be revealed when the fuel levels are revealed later this afternoon, but right now this looks like Red Bull's race to lose. When he gets it right Barrichello can be a stellar starter and BrawnGP will be hoping for a warmer race day to get their tyres working. There could still be fireworks at the front because Rubens will see it as a major opportunity to pull points back on Jenson Button.
01 S. Vettel Red Bull 1:19.509
02 R. Barrichello Brawn GP 1:19.856
03 M. Webber Red Bull 1:19.868
04 J. Trulli Toyota 1:20.091
05 K. Nakajima Williams 1:20.216
06 J. Button Brawn GP 1:20.289
07 N. Rosberg Williams 1:20.361
08 T. Glock Toyota 1:20.490
09 K. Räikkönen Ferrari 1:19.010
10 F. Alonso Renault 1:20.741
11 F. Massa Ferrari 1:18.927
12 R. Kubica BMW 1:19.308
13 H. Kovalainen McLaren 1:19.353
14 N. Piquet jr. Renault 1:19.392
15 N. Heidfeld BMW 1:19.448
16 G. Fisichella Force India F1 1:19.802
17 S. Bourdais Scuderia Toro Rosso 1:19.898
18 A. Sutil Force India F1 1:19.909
19 L. Hamilton McLaren 1:19.917
20 S. Buemi Scuderia Toro Rosso 1:20.236
Source : Planet F1
Lewis Hamilton is refusing to proclaim that he would have been on pole if it hadn't been for Adrian Sutil crash forcing him out of Q1 at Silverstone.
The McLaren driver, who was languishing down in 19th, was on a flying lap when Sutil crashed his Force India into the barriers at the Abbey chicane during Q1.
Because of the severity of the accident the session was red flag and the 24s remaining on the clock did not leave Hamilton - or anyone else - with enough time to put in an out lap and a flying lap.
Thus he dropped out of qualifying and will start P19 on the grid for his home race.
"I did the best I could today," said Hamilton. "I was pushing as hard as I could but our car is too slow. I gave it my all and there wasn't really much more I could have got from the car."
He also refused to blame Sutil's accident for his disappointing qualifying.
"I was pushing on that final lap - but it was nothing special. However, we live to fight another day and anything can happen in the race tomorrow.
"We'll keep pushing on and hopefully put on a good show for all the fans. The great thing is that I've had incredible support these past few days from the fans - they're the ones who are really helping me to get through it, so a big thank-you to all of them."
Meanwhile, team boss Martin Whitmarsh was left to lament Hamilton's lack of luck: "Lewis was a little unlucky to have his final quick-lap cut short by Sutil's accident.
"Today's result is not a surprise, but it demonstrates that we still have work to do to address MP4-24's weaknesses in high-speed corners.
"Nonetheless, we're already fully focused on the race tomorrow and mindful that we could still produce a strong result in front of the many thousands of passionate fans who will be cheering us on."
Source : Planet F1
Sebastian Vettel's pole position time around Silverstone become even more impressive once the FIA released the weights of the cars.
Vettel will start Sunday's British GP from the P1 slot on the grid after clocking a 1:19.509, which put him 0.347s ahead of Rubens Barrichello and an additional tenth quicker than his team-mate.
What's impressive, though, is fact that Vettel was carrying more fuel than both his rivals. And in fact, he is the heaviest of all ten drivers who took part in the pole position shoot-out.
Meanwhile, Webber will have to rely on raw pace to get ahead of Barrichello as the duo are on similar fuel strategies as is fourth-placed Jarno Trulli.
The lightest of the top ten was Kazuki Nakajima, which probably explains why he managed to qualify ahead of his Williams team-mate Nico Rosberg, who was almost 10kgs heavier.
Slotted in between the two Williams is Jenson Button, who is on a similar weight load to his team-mate.
01 Sebastian Vettel: 666.5 kg
02 Rubens Barrichello: 657.5 kg
03 Mark Webber: 659.5 kg
04 Jarno Trulli: 658 kg
05 Kazuki Nakajima: 652.5 kg
06 Jenson Button: 657.5 kg
07 Nico Rosberg: 661.5 kg
08 Timo Glock: 660 kg
09 Kimi Räikkönen: 654 kg
10 Fernando Alonso: 654 kg
11 Felipe Massa: 675 kg
12 Robert Kubica: 689.5 kg
13 Heikki Kovalainen: 695.5 kg
14 Nelson Piquet: 682.5 kg
15 Nick Heidfeld: 665.5 kg
16 Giancarlo Fisichella: 668 kg
17 Sébastien Bourdais: 687.5 kg
18 Adrian Sutil: 692 kg
19 Lewis Hamilton: 666 kg
20 Sébastien Buemi: 672.5 kg
Source : Planet F1
Friday, June 19, 2009
Now that FOTA have finally lost patience with the FIA there is going to be a whole host of consequences. Andrew Davies ponders the things that immediately spring to mind...
* Max Mosley's bid to get teams to run on £40m a year (+ drivers + marketing) has always seemed out of touch with big money worldwide sports models. Spanish football club Real Madrid have a revenue of £290m and that's without a major showing in the Champions League. With a lot more sponsorship and global exposure, F1 has a far greater earning potential.
* What seemed like a too-early bid to abandon ship by Lola cars - when they announced that they were withdrawing their F1 application midweek - seems quite a good move now. Because they can join the FOTA grid, which (providing it has all current eight teams) will be the series people will want to watch next year.
* Will David Richards' ProDrive and Epsilon follow suit? And can any of the new teams raise enough money based on the fact that the series will not have the charismatic names associated with F1?
* Vijay Mallya looks like he might be shipwrecked in a sub-GP2 series, stranded like a beached whale now that the tide has gone out. Frank Williams was stuck whatever the case. He was already heavily involved with the FIA by manufacturing the chassis for their F2 series and sounded like he had already been advanced cash by Bernie for running in 2010. Mallya, who was thought to be funding his F1 dream from his industrial fortune, gave the excuse that he had various banking covenants that obliged him to sign up. How much is his team worth this morning...?
* In any divorce case there are bitter arguments over possessions. The biggest question of all will be: Who gets Monaco? F1 will have it for the foreseeable future, but can FOTA sneak a race in at the track the week after or the week before the race?
* Porsche were said to be looking at a bid to join F1 in its new revamped form. The makers of the world's favourite sportscar and the world's most pointless 4x4 were quick to distance themselves from the European Car Manufacturer's Association condemnation of the FIA last weekend. So it looks like the suck-ups have backed the wrong horse.
* Bernie's lawyers will have cancelled all holiday.
* Max Mosley's assertion that F1 could survive without Ferrari will now be put to the test. Presumably if the FIA chief believes this, then they won't be too fussed about FOTA forming their own series.
* FOTA's statement includes the reassuring phrase: "The major drivers, stars, brands, sponsors, promoters and companies historically associated with the highest level of motorsport will all feature in this new series." The thing they can't say is that they will be able to race at all the same circuits. Actually, there is one promoter they might not get along with - the guy responsible for Turkey and Hungary - short guy, getting on a bit, very tall ex-wife, lovely daughters...
* Donington's loss is Silverstone's gain. There must be real doubts over Donington's future if this series goes ahead. Who is going to invest in a £100m debenture scheme when the prestige event, the F1 British Grand Prix, will be a combination of two of the weakest F1 teams, some GP2 teams, some F3 teams and some Touring Car teams?
* Bernie Ecclestone's deliberate sidelining of Silverstone has provided the new FOTA series with a world-class historic race venue that is not contractually tied up with F1.
* Nico Rosberg will almost certainly have his wish to become F1 World Champion come true if he stays with Williams.
* CVC Capital Partners, the venture capital firm that owns the commercial rights to F1, won't enjoy reading the papers this morning. They will presumably want to know why FOTA made a reference to money owed to the teams which has further exacerbated the dispute. FOTA said: "Furthermore, tens of millions of dollars have been withheld from many teams by the commercial rights holder, going back as far as 2006." Presumably CVC know the reasons for Bernie withholding this money...?
* Pepsi Max brands itself on giving the maximum taste. Conversely Max F1 will have minimum driver personalities. Pity the organisers of the European GP in Valencia. They have paid a ton of money for a grand prix that will not feature Fernando Alonso for the foreseeable future.
* If this series goes ahead, Max Mosley will at least have shed his image as the man who likes to be flayed in cellars. He will be known very simply as the man who killed F1.
Source : Planet F1
The Formula One Teams' Association have sensationally confirmed they are to form a breakaway series, causing the greatest upheaval in the sport's 60-year history.
Following a meeting of the eight teams that currently form FOTA - Ferrari, McLaren, Renault, Toyota, BMW Sauber, Brawn GP, Red Bull Racing and Toro Rosso - they have all declined to enter F1 for 2010.
Despite weeks of negotiations with FIA president Max Mosley, the two bodies have failed to find a compromise, leaving the sport in total chaos.
The FIA had issued a deadline of close of business on Friday to enter next year's championship unconditionally to McLaren, Toyota, Renault, BMW Sauber and Brawn GP in particular.
As far as the FIA are concerned, Ferrari, Red Bull Racing and Toro Rosso are contracted to enter, hence the reason they were given an automatic entry by world motor sport's governing body last Friday.
Ferrari have stated that contract, signed in 2005, was invalidated by the FIA when they failed to recognise the Scuderia's right of veto over the new regulations.
Mosley unilaterally announced the introduction of a voluntary £40million budget cap at the end of April without consulting the teams, most notably Ferrari.
The FIA will point to the fact discussions over cost control were first aired with the teams as far back as January 2008.
At that stage the likes of Brawn GP team principal Ross Brawn and Toyota Motorsport president John Howett were in favour, although not Ferrari.
But it was Mosley's 'publish and be damned' attitude that has most angered the teams, and has now resulted in the greatest shock wave to hit F1 since the championship first began in 1950.
Whilst FOTA have now confirmed their intention to stage a breakaway series, the actual implementation is another matter.
Significantly, Ferrari face being embroiled in a legal wrangle that could last months, especially as Ecclestone has already stated his intent to sue for millions of pounds should they quit F1.
Any series without Ferrari will be hard to sell to television companies and race tracks around the world, the most renowned of which are signed up with Ecclestone.
Red Bull Racing and Toro Rosso, both owned by the energy drinks magnate Dietrich Mateschitz, also face being embroiled in similar litigation as to Ferrari.
As for F1, their series as it stands today comprises Williams and Force India, who were forced to break with FOTA due to their own contractual obligations, and three new entrants in Campos Racing, Team US F1 and Manor F1 Team.
The FIA will steadfastly refuse to accept the stance from Ferrari, Red Bull Racing and Toro Rosso.
But in the absence of the other five they will today likely name a quintet of new entrants as replacements as they do have other teams waiting in the wings, ready and willing to race under a cap.
Significantly, Lola - who were surprisingly not given one of the initial three new entries - announced on Wednesday they no longer wished to be considered by the FIA for the 2010 championship.
The suggestion is they are to join FOTA's new series, along with former BAR team principal David Richards' Prodrive organisation, who, like Lola, were surprisingly overlooked by the FIA a week ago.
One other scenario, although unlikely, is that Mosley will today back down from his previously staunch position and allow the FOTA eight to enter for 2010, with a prospect of further talks taking place in the near future.
Source : Planet F1
Thursday, June 18, 2009
If Simon Gillett, the developer of the Donington Circuit is to be believed, then this is the last British GP at Silverstone for at least the next 17 years. That's the length of the contract he's been given to run the F1 grand prix.
He may not have time on his side or the necessary investment, but what he can rely on is a big audience.
In Turkey at the last round they couldn't attract punters in with a £40 weekend pass and £200 grandstand seats. This weekend Silverstone will be full to bursting with punters paying £180 for a weekend pass alone. Which makes the prospect of taking this grand prix off the calendar a total nonsense. Just as it has been in Canada,
Montreal and Silverstone may not have circuit buildings that look like a Disney-inspired industrial estate, but they do have something far more relevant. Fans.
This weekend they'll be packing out the Northamptonshire circuit in the hope of a Jenson Button victory. However armed with typical British pragmatism they won't mind if he comes in the top three and maintains his championship challenge. Most of them will have despaired of Jenson ever getting into a top class car and this weekend will be more like a celebration of the season so far than a need to see him on the top step of the podium.
The former WWII bomber training base is similar to Turkey in that it has a lot of high speed corners, such as Copse, Becketts and Stowe, but it also has the fiddly Brooklands and Luffield complex making it far more of a compromise on set-up.
As we've seen from wins in Monaco and then Turkey, Brawn can do fiddly and high speed tracks, but can they do high-speed with fiddly? Certainly both BrawnGP drivers have an intimate knowledge of the track, Rubens having competed there since his F3 days and Button competing there since before he could produce any kind of ginger facial offence.
Rubens will be keen to get his starting mechanism sorted out having messed up royally in Istanbul. Hopefully by now he'll have gained a sense of proportion and remembered that he had a dog of a start in Australia, yet blinders in Barcelona and Monaco to balance that out
The Red Bulls will be up there vying for the front row and a Mark Webber win would probably go down almost as well as a Button victory. Webbo's been getting the better of his team mate of late and could even overhaul Vettel in the championship race this weekend.
Toyota should also be a force to contend with, along with the resurgent (though not as surgent as most people expected) Ferrari and BMW teams. It's unlikely to be such a fantastic weekend for the McLaren team and they've been doing their best to dampen down expectations.
Dampening down the circuit might be the best method of securing a Lewis Hamilton podium, but the long-range weather forecast is predicting a dry weekend, with all the rain being stored up for the following weekend's Glastonbury Festival.
Renault are in exactly the same position as McLaren and Fernando Alonso's continued presence in the team is a bit like Button in reverse. All that potential wasted in a below-average car.
F1 fans tend to get engrossed in the sport they love, and all the F1 vs FOTA machinations have tended to obscure the basic fault of motorsport compared to football, or rugby or tennis. My wife asked me why Jenson Button was so good all of a sudden seeing as he'd been in F1 since 2000; "Aah," I replied, "he's only just got a car that's good enough."
"So," she said with the kind of withering clarity I've had to endure for quite some time, "it's not the driver it's the car. How is that a sport?"
I could have given her a very long and complicated answer, but the easiest way out was, "yeah." Had we adopted Max Mosley's Idea-of-the-Year circa 2001 where drivers swap teams each race, then actually we could have more of a sport.
Under that regime the very best drivers would be fighting at the front all season long and we wouldn't have waited nine years to see Jenson Button arrive at his home grand prix leading the World Championship. Given that F1 is reluctant to give up its traditions lightly he better enjoy it while it lasts.
Source : Planet F1
Organisers of the Malaysian Grand Prix have insisted the start time of next year's race should be brought back to 3pm to avoid the chaos that resulted in the shortening of the 2009 event.
At the insistence of Formula One supreme Bernie Ecclestone, this year's race began at 5pm (9am GMT), a time better suited for the European television audience.
But monsoon conditions at the Sepang circuit an hour into the race resulted in it being red-flagged just past half-distance.
With little daylight time remaining when the thunderstorm eventually receded, the race was not re-started and half-points were awarded to the top eight finishers.
Sepang International Circuit CEO Razlan Razali believes the situation could have been avoided if the start time had not been altered.
"For many years, it rained after the end of the 3pm race and it's likely to happen again and again," said Razlan to Singapore's Today newspaper.
"So, we need to rethink how we can make it agreeable to everyone involved."
Despite earlier suggestions by Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak that they might follow Singapore's lead and hold the race at night under floodlit conditions, Razlan said no such plan is in the works for 2010.
"We will definitely not have a night race, but we are still talking to Bernie to stage a race between 3pm and 5pm," he added.
Source : Planet F1
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Peugeot’s squad of three former F1 drivers claimed overall victory in the Le Mans 24 Hours. Alexander Wurz, David Brabham and Marc Gene led home a Peugeot one-two.
The French team resisted the temptation to swap the running order of its leading cars and promote the second-placed all-French (and all-F1) car of Sebastien Bourdais, Franck Montagny and Stepahne Sarrazin into the lead.
It marked the first time in ten years the race has been won by a three drivers who have competed in F1.
Peugeot returns to victory
Alexander Wurz scored his second win the French classic, adding to his 1996 triumph. Wurz made the most F1 starts of the trio, with Marc Gene starting 36 and David Brabham 24.
Brabham became the second member of his family to win the race outright - brother Geoff was part of the team that gave Peugeot its last win in the race, in 1993. David Brabham won the GT1 category in the previous two years, driving for Aston Martin. Both are, of course, the sons of three-times F1 champion Jack Brabham.
Peugeot’s first win at Le Mans in 16 years bookends a period in which it also made an unsuccessful foray into Formula 1. It joined McLaren as an engine supplier in 1994 but was dropped by the team at the end of the year. It supplied engines for Jordan from 1995-1997, then Alain Prost’s team for three years. After leaving F1 it enjoyed success in rallying, before starting a new Le Mans programme with its diesel-engined car in 2007.
Bourdais is the first active F1 driver to compete in the Le Mans 24 Hours since Franck Montagny in 2006 - who also finished second on that occasion.
Class wins for Magnussen and Salo
Audi’s R15 provided the closest challenger to Peugeot, in the form of the number one car driven by ex-Toyota racer Allan McNish alongside Tom Kristensen and Rinaldo Capello, which finished third.
The highest-placed of the new Aston Martins was the Tomas Enge/Stefan Mücke/Jan Charouz car which took fourth. The team is run by Prodrive, who submitted an entry for the 2010 F1 championship. Another of the cars piloted by ex-Super Aguri driver and BBC F1 commentator Anthony Davidson, along with Jos Verstappen and Darren Turner, finished 13th.
The LMGT1 category was won by the Corvette C6.R of another former F1 driver, Jan Magnussen, alongside Jonny O’Connell and Antonio Garcia. LMGT2 was won by the Risi Competizione Ferrari of Mika Salo - formerly a Ferrari F1 driver - Pierre Kaffer and Jaime Melo.
LMP2 was the only category won by three drivers without F1 credentials - the Porsche RS Spyder of Casper Elgaard, Kristian Poulsen and Emmanuel Collard.
But Marco Apicella and Narain Karthikeyan’s races ended before they began. Karthikeyan ruled himself out of the race by dislocating his shoulder while jumping over the pit wall in the moments before the start was given. Apicella’s Lamborghini managed just a single lap…
Source : F1Fanatic
Lewis Hamilton may not be winning races this year, so instead the Brit is focusing his attentions on winning a few friends in the paddock.
Hamilton has in the past been widely accused by his fellow drivers of showing no respect and being arrogant.
This was highlighted by his rift with former McLaren team-mate Fernando Alonso and again at the 2008 season-ending Brazilian GP when it appeared that the entire paddock - barring McLaren's personnel - was backing Felipe Massa to win the title.
This year, however, Hamilton says he's doing his best to make buddies in the paddock.
"I think my relationship with the drivers is better this year," he told The Mirror.
"I think they do respect me a lot more as I have worked a lot harder this year to try and rebuild those relationships.
"Before I just kept myself to myself when we went to drivers' briefings. Now I try to mingle more with the drivers because they saw keeping to myself as a sign of disrespect, but I never meant that."
Source : Planet F1
Saturday, June 13, 2009
Sample of the cars on the poster. Below is the full poster, though very small.
Lewis Hamilton may be enduring his most wretched period behind the wheel of his McLaren, but that will not stop him from adopting an all-guns-blazing approach at Silverstone next week.
Nine wins and 13 pole positions from 35 races was Hamilton's most astonishing record at the end of his first two years in Formula One that culminated in him winning the World title last year.
Few will ever forget the 24-year-old clinching the Championship with a move on Toyota's Timo Glock in the final corner of the final race in Brazil.
En route to such heroics was an extraordinary British Grand Prix triumph in front of a sodden, sell-out Silverstone crowd, taking the chequered flag by a phenomenal 68.5 second margin from runner-up Nick Heidfeld.
But how fortunes have changed because a year on from a victory he cherishes above all others, Hamilton will be nothing more than an also ran this year given the dud of a car he is currently driving.
Ironically, Hamilton's title triumph is partly to blame because quite naturally McLaren ploughed resources into last year's car to ensure he stayed ahead of his rivals.
In terms of designing this year's model, it meant the team were caught severely short ahead of the biggest rule change to hit the sport for more than 20 years.
Hamilton, so frustrated early on - not least as he was also caught up in the 'lie-gate' saga - has now adopted a calmer, philosophical approach.
After becoming so accustomed to winning, Hamilton has accepted his lot, that this is simply one of those years every driver suffers during their career.
"We have clearly had a terrible year compared to past years," assessed Hamilton.
"We've gone from fighting at the front of the grid last year to fighting to score points this season.
"But my approach hasn't changed. Even if you can't get a good result, the satisfaction you get from racing at the absolute limit is always the same.
"I still get a huge buzz from knowing I couldn't have possibly gone any faster, and I definitely got that feeling in Bahrain, Spain, Monaco and Turkey.
"Maybe the results didn't always show it, but I really couldn't have got any more from the car in any of those races. What you can't see is that I'm really driving well.
"Silverstone will be another opportunity to push to the limit. It's a place where you can really attack, and I'm going to push on every single lap.
"I definitely haven't given up on this season - there's still a lot to prove, and I still love driving the car."
There will be no glory for Hamilton at Silverstone this year, that much is certain.
But in returning to the circuit as World Champion, he knows he will be given a huge ovation by the fans.
"The atmosphere at Silverstone is unique," enthused Hamilton.
"When you drive into the circuit, you see the funfair by the main entrance and all the stands and the fans dressed in team kit and carrying flags and banners.
"I get a lot of motivation from the support of those fans. Last year I remember, despite the terrible weather on race day, seeing the flags waving on every lap.
"It really gives you a lift when you're driving, to know that people are there to support you and to wish you well."
One extra fan on Hamilton's side this year will be Pussycat Doll girlfriend Nicole Scherzinger who he has not seen for over a month due to their demanding schedules.
Hamilton will also become a fan himself as he is rooting for Jenson Button to savour his own British Grand Prix success following years in the doldrums.
In a remarkable reversal of fortune, whilst Hamilton is languishing towards the rear of the grid, Button is now at the front.
Six wins from the opening seven races have rocketed the 29-year-old into a 26-point lead at the top of the Drivers' standings.
How noble of Hamilton then to support his fellow Briton as he said: "Regardless of the fact we're not winning this year, I wish Jenson all the best.
"Hopefully he'll be able to bring it home for the British fans."
Source : Planet F1