Tuesday, December 30, 2014


Together again..
The 2015 grid has had some really big shakeup recently and it would be very interesting indeed to see how Vettel fares at Ferrari and Alonso at McLaren, especially with the new Honda engine. That is a 50/50 bet there, anything can happen. If Honda does a "Mercedes" or a "Brawn" then Alonso is on his way and 2015 will be a nice fight with the Mercedes.

Red Bull
Daniel Ricciardo, Daniil Kvyat

Almost as surprising as the announcement that Sebastian Vettel would leave Red Bull at the end of 2014 was the team immediately confirmed Russian rookie Daniil Kvyat as his replacement. The news closed off the seat to Fernando Alonso and shows Red Bull has lost no faith in its young driver programme, confidence surely strengthened by Daniel Ricciardo's incredible first season at the team.

Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg

The champions have their current driver line-up locked in for 2015. Nico Rosberg signed a "multi-year" contract extension in May, while Lewis Hamilton's current deal takes him to the end of next season. Of more interest is the team's line-up for 2016, with talks over Hamilton's contract extension set to resume after being put on hold after the Belgian Grand Prix.

Sebastian Vettel, Kimi Raikkonen

In Abu Dhabi Ferrari finally confirmed what we all already knew, that Sebastian Vettel will partner Kimi Raikkonen next season. It marks the end of the Fernando Alonso era at Ferrari, which promised so much but ultimately failed to deliver the one thing that matters - a world championship. Vettel arrives hoping to emulate his idol Michael Schumacher, who joined a struggling team in 1996 and turned it into a dominant force in the early 2000s.

Pastor Maldonado, Romain Grosjean

Though the butt of many a joke in F1, especially after another crash-strewn season, Pastor Maldonado's raw pace and PDVSA backing secured his seat for 2015 earlier this year. Romain Grosjean will partner him after the Frenchman was finally confirmed ahead of the final race in Abu Dhabi. Both drivers will be hoping the arrival of Mercedes power next season helps the team move back up the grid.

Fernando Alonso, Jenson Button

The remarkable news that Fernando Alonso has returned to McLaren was common knowledge long before it was confirmed, but Jenson Button had to wait much longer to discover his fate. Kevin Magnussen was a serious contender to keep his race seat at the team, but has been moved to a test and reserve role - a position the team was keen to underline the importance of. Ultimately McLaren opted for experience over youth, which could prove to be crucial as Honda makes its return as an engine supplier next season.

Force India
Nico Hulkenberg, Sergio Perez

Force India has confirmed Nico Hulkenberg for 2015 after doors further up the grid were closed off. The news is good for both team and driver and it is the first time Hulkenberg will stay at the same team for two seasons in a row. He will also be allowed to compete for Porsche at the Le Mans 24 Hours, which should leave WEC as a career path if his F1 options ever run dry. Sergio Perez will join him once again after agreeing a "multi-year" contract extension that will also see the 2015 car launched in his native Mexico.

Marcus Ericsson, Felipe Nasr

Sauber will have an all-new line-up for 2015, but that is as much a reflection on the state of the team's finances as a need to shake things up behind the wheel. Marcus Ericsson was offered a career lifeline just over a week after Caterham fell into administration and brings big money to the team. Nasr has taken part in Friday practice sessions for Williams this year as well as securing a third-place finish in the GP2 championship and comes to Sauber with substantial backing from Banco do Brasil. It will be interesting to see the two drivers go up against each other, with Nasr coming to the team off the back of four wins in GP2 and Ericsson's form taking an upward turn in his last few races for Caterham.

Toro Rosso
Max Verstappen, Carlos Sainz Jr

Toro Rosso raised eyebrows earlier this year when it elevated Max Verstappen to its team for 2015, with the Dutch prodigy due to smash all sorts of records when he lines up on the Melbourne grid aged 17. At the time he looked likely to partner Kvyat but now the Russian is moving up the pit lane to Red Bull, another spot opened up. Jean-Eric Vergne was hopeful he could keep his seat but was ditched despite a strong finish to the 2014 season. Replacing him will be Formula Renault 3.5 champion Carlos Sainz Jr, son of the rally legend who shares his name, as Toro Rosso opts for a bold all-rookie line-up which will start the first race with a combined age of just 37 years old.

Valtteri Bottas, Felipe Massa

Williams locked in its drivers for 2015 at Monza, an indication of just how happy the team has been with them. In Valtteri Bottas the team believes it has a future world champion, while Felipe Massa has been solid and took pole position at Austria.


Caterham's future in Formula One is doubtful at present, but after making the grid in Abu Dhabi the team is in talks with three potential buyers. If it does find new owners, they will have to start by replacing Ericsson, who is confirmed at Sauber for next season.


There are no signs that Marussia will make the grid next year, meaning Max Chilton will have to look elsewhere in 2015. Jules Bianchi is still hospitalised following his horrific accident at Suzuka in October and the thoughts of the F1 paddock remain with him.

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Saturday, December 27, 2014


Meeting in Doha, the World Motor Sport Council has announced a number of changes to the Sporting and Technical Regulations.

Along with these changes to the regulations, the FIA President confirmed that the focus will be on reducing costs, improving the show, making cars quicker and more difficult to drive, and reviewing the technical and sporting regulations, with the aim of simplifying the rules where possible.

Sporting Regulations


Points for both titles will no longer be doubled for the final Event of the Championship.

Standing Restarts

After consultation with the Teams who raised a number of safety concerns, Articles 42.7 and 42.8 on standing restarts have been rescinded.

Virtual Safety Car (VSC)

Following tests of the VSC system at the final Events of 2014, the introduction of the system has been approved for 2015. The VSC procedure may be initiated to neutralise a race upon the order of the clerk of the course. It will normally be used when double waved yellow flags are needed on any section of track and competitors or officials may be in danger, but the circumstances are not such as to warrant use of the safety car itself. (The full text of the article can be fopund at the end of this article).

Suspending a race

When a race is suspended, the pit exit will be closed and all cars must now proceed slowly into the pit lane, not the starting grid. The first car to arrive in the pit lane should proceed directly to the pit exit staying in the fast lane, all the other cars should form up in a line behind the first car.

Team personnel or equipment on grid

If any team personnel or team equipment remain on the grid after the 15 second signal has been shown the driver of the car concerned must start the race from the pit lane. A ten second stop-and-go penalty will be imposed on any driver who fails to do this.

Power Unit Penalties

The replacement of a complete power unit will no longer result in a penalty, instead as specified in the current regulations, penalties will be applied cumulatively for individual components of the power unit.

If a grid place penalty is imposed, and the driver's grid position is such that the full penalty cannot be applied, the remainder of the penalty will be applied in the form of a time penalty during the race (not at the next race as was previously the case) according to the following scale:

1 to 5 grid places untaken: A penalty under Article 16.3(a) will be applied.
6 to 10 grid places untaken: A penalty under Article 16.3(b) will be applied.
11 to 20 grid places untaken: A penalty under Article 16.3(c) will be applied.
More than 20 grid places untaken: A penalty under Article 16.3(d) will be applied.

Time Penalties

In addition to the existing five-second penalty (Article 16.3a), a new ten-second penalty (Article 16.3b) will also be introduced, to be applied in the same manner.

Unsafe Release

If a car is deemed to have been released in an unsafe condition during a race a ten second stop-and-go penalty will be imposed on the driver concerned. An additional penalty will be imposed on any driver who, in the opinion of the stewards, continues to drive a car knowing it to have been released in an unsafe condition.

Qualifying Procedure

The qualifying procedure was clarified: for cases when 24 cars are eligible seven will be excluded after Q1 and Q2, if 22 cars are eligible six cars will be excluded after Q1 and Q2, and so on if fewer cars are eligible.

Safety Car: lapped cars

Once the last lapped car has passed the leader the safety car will return to the pits at the end of the following lap, the race director will no longer have to wait for all the lapped cars to reach the back of the pack behind the safety car.

Technical Regulations

  • The weight of the car, without fuel, must not be less than 702kg at all times during the Event (up from 701kg).
  • Changes have been made to the rules governing Wind Tunnel Testing and with regard to the aerodynamic reporting periods for 2015 and 2016.
  • Any suspension system fitted to the front wheels must be so arranged that its response results only from changes in load applied to the front wheels.
  • Any suspension system fitted to the rear wheels must be so arranged that its response results only from changes in load applied to the rear wheels.
  • The Zylon anti-intrusion panels on both sides of the survival cell have been extended upwards to the rim of the cockpit and alongside the pilot's head.

Article 41: Virtual Safety Car (VSC)

41.1 The VSC procedure may be initiated to neutralise a race upon the order of the clerk of the course. It will normally be used when double waved yellow flags are needed on any section of track and competitors or officials may be in danger, but the circumstances are not such as to warrant use of the safety car itself.

41.2 When the order is given to initiate the VSC procedure a message "VSC DEPLOYED" will be displayed on the official messaging system and all FIA light panels will display "VSC".

41.3 No car may be driven unnecessarily slowly, erratically or in a manner which could be deemed potentially dangerous to other drivers or any other person at any time whilst the VSC procedure is in use. This will apply whether any such car is being driven on the track, the pit entry or the pit lane.

41.4 No car may enter the pits whilst the VSC procedure is in use unless it is for the purpose of changing tyres.

41.5 All competing cars must reduce speed and stay above the minimum time set by the FIA ECU at least once in each marshalling sector (a marshalling sector is defined as the section of track between each of the FIA light panels). All cars must also be above this minimum time when the FIA light panels change to green (see 41.7 below). The stewards may impose either of the penalties under Article 16.3a), b), c) or d) on any driver who fails to stay above the minimum time as required by the above.

41.6 With the exception of the cases listed under a) to d) below, no driver may overtake another car on the track whilst the VSC procedure is in use.

The exceptions are :

  1. When entering the pits a driver may pass another car remaining on the track after he has reached the first safety car line.
  2. When leaving the pits a driver may overtake, or be overtaken by, another car on the track before he reaches the second safety car line.
  3. Whilst in the pit entry, pit lane or pit exit a driver may overtake another car which is also in one of these three areas.
  4. If any car slows with an obvious problem.

41.7 When the clerk of the course decides it is safe to end the VSC procedure the message "VSC ENDING" will be displayed on the official messaging system and, at any time between 10 and 15 seconds later, "VSC" on the FIA light panels will change to green and drivers may continue racing immediately. After 30 seconds the green lights will be extinguished.

41.8 Each lap completed whist the VSC procedure is in use will be counted as a race lap.

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Thursday, December 18, 2014


The 2015 calendar is out now and other than the surprise inclusion of Korea, which the World Motor Sport Council admits has yet to be confirmed, the only change to the provisional calendar announced in September is that which sees China change places with Bahrain. The Koreans were surprised they were included.

On the other hand, running the Korean and Spanish events back-to-back does appear ambitious, to put it mildly.

Date Race Circuit
15-Mar Australia Melbourne
29-Mar Malaysia Sepang
12-Apr China Shanghai International Circuit
19-Apr Bahrain Sakhir
03-May Korea* Yeongam
10-May Spain Barcelona
24-May Monaco Monaco
07-Jun Canada Montreal
21-Jun Austria Red Bull Ring
05-Jul Britain Silverstone
19-Jul Germany Nurburgring
26-Jul Hungary Hungaroring
23-Aug Belgium Spa Francorchamps
06-Sep Italy Monza
20-Sep Singapore Marina Bay
27-Sep Japan Suzuka
11-Oct Russia Sochi
25-Oct United States Austin
01-Nov Mexico Mexico City
15-Nov Brazil Interlagos
29-Nov Abu Dhabi Yas Marina

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Tuesday, December 9, 2014


Article written by Andrew Davies of PlanetF1. Original article HERE.

It may be the year of the Silver Arrows, but 2014 will also go down as The Year of Shocks in F1. Some of them were tragic, some of them were unexpected twists, but all stole headlines on the sports pages (and sometimes on the main news pages). We started the year with perhaps the saddest shock of all.

Michael Schumacher's ski accident
Michael's battle with a head injury from a Christmas skiing trip began in the last days of 2013, with the world's press camped outside a hospital in Grenoble well into the New Year. Michael survived and has begun the long, slow struggle back to functionality. What Corinne Schumacher and his long-time press secretary Sabine Kehm also have to fight, apart from health issues, is the ongoing battle to keep his recovery and his recuperation private. If one good thing can come out of the accident it's that all skiiers need ski helmets, because if someone as seemingly indestructible as Michael can suffer an injury with a helmet, what chances are there without...?

Daniel Ricciardo blasts Vettel out of Red Bull
When Mark Webber retired, the F1 press sighed that the immensely quotable Aussie was gone, to be replaced by a likeable guy, but a product of the Red Bull talent machine. He'd be a bit dull in comparison, surely? Not a bit of it. Daniel Ricciardo's stellar performance in the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne was just a foretaste of things to come, a season in which he mullah-ed a four-times World Champion, putting in a variety of the most sublime overtaking moves along the way and gaining the respect of drivers like Fernando Alonso - not an easy thing to do.

Adrian Newey quits frontline role
The greatest designer in F1 history, Adrian Newey, announced that he would be stepping back from his frontline role as technical chief of the Red Bull Racing team. There had been rumours (vigorously denied when they didn't come off) that Ferrari had tried to lure him to Maranello. Chris Evans' neighbour wasn't to be lured, instead he will take more of a mentoring role in the team. He has already designed the RB11 for 2015, but the RB12 in 2016 will be the work of a new team.

Nico Rosberg admits 'not avoiding' crash
Tensions in the Mercedes team had been tense after the Monaco Affair, but for the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa they went off the scale. When Nico Rosberg tagged Lewis Hamilton's rear tyre at the Les Combes corner on the opening lap, he gave Lewis a puncture that would ultimately see him retire from the race. The stewards saw the bungled attempt as a racing accident, but afterwards Rosberg made the'mistake' of being perfectly honest about the clash. Whereas most drivers try and pin the blame on the other car Rosberg said he deliberately left his car in harm's way rather than concede the corner - thus denying Mercedes a potential 1-2.

Bernie isn't convicted of bribery
With one bound he was free. A German court had sentenced German banker Gerhard Gribkowsky to 8 years in prison for accepting a bribe from Bernie Ecclestone over the sale of F1's commercial rights to CVC. So it seemed pretty much a nailed-on certainty that another German court would find Bernie guilty of paying that bribe - for which someone was already in jail. However Bernie was able to reach in his pocket for $100 million and bring the trial to a halt. Isn't justice marvellous.

Sebastian Vettel quits Red Bull
Considering Sebastian had some pretty strong things to say about the ethics of the Ferrari team around the time of his 2012 title decider, it was a shock to find out that Seb was heading for Maranello in 2015. He had a Red Bull contract for 2016 after all. Not that he could say that was where he was going. Only Christian Horner could reveal the destination (and enjoyed doing so very much).

Fernando Alonso leaves Ferrari
With Sebastian Vettel's announcement and with Kimi Raikkonen contracted for 2016 it was soon obvious that the departing driver would be Fernando Alonso, the man who once said he would like to finish his driving career at the Scuderia. It was clear to El Nano that the problems of 2014, and the upheavals in the team, would cascade though to 2015 and he wasn't waiting around.

Luca Montezemolo leaves the revolving door of Ferrari
The man instrumental in the Ferrari domination of the Schumacher era quit the company after a less-than-satisfactory Italian Grand Prix at Monza. Earlier in the year Luca had replaced his team principal, Stefano Domenicali, with the successful boss of Ferrari North America, Marco Mattiacci. And at the final race of the season it was announced that Mattiacci would also be leaving. Thus in the space of twelve months Ferrari will lose Montezemolo, Alonso, Domenicali, Massa, Smedley and Mattiacci...

Jules Bianchi's freak accident at Suzuka
F1 got a serious safety wake-up call in Suzuka after Jules Bianchi's car left the track in a double-waved yellow section and hit the truck recovering Adrian Sutil's Sauber. At the time, the rain was light enough for some cars to be circulating on Intermediate tyres, so it seemed even more tragic for a serious accident to happen in what must have been manageable conditions. There were uncomfortable post-race questions for the FIA and Race Director Charlie Whiting about the lack of a Safety Car.

Marussia and Caterham go out of business
It was a shock that both Marussia and Caterham should have administrators called in so close to one another. What was an even bigger shock was how little Bernie Ecclestone did to keep them in business till season end. In the past Ecclestone has been the source of favoured loans for struggling teams (such as Jordan) to keep them on the grid and to provide a better 'show'. But this time he just likened the two teams to women who had overspent on their credit cards and left crowd-funding to supply the necessary to get Caterham to Abu Dhabi. Happy Christmas CVC (the first two letters don't actually stand for Complete Vultures, but they might as well).

Andrew Davies

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Thursday, December 4, 2014



Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso have been officially confirmed as drivers for McLaren in 2015. And Kevin Magnussen has been put into the test driver role. A pretty safe combo if you ask me.

So here we are going into the winter season and no action. This is gonna be a long winter again. As far as the drivers situation is concerned, most driver moves have been made. Some moved around, some were thrown out and brought in. Some are still in limbo like Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen. Very unlike McLaren to do this but when a double world champion and a new engine is concerned, I think they are probably thinking of doing a Mercedes.

I don't think Marussia or Manor will be racing. In fact their stuff has been put up for auction. Caterham has been given the green light to use this year's chassis for next year, so I don't see the point of that. Unless it was just to make it attractive for a buyer to have a ready F1 team to buy. But will they make it inside the 107% time during qualifying? Quite a mess F1 has gotten itself into.

Hamilton GBR Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team Mercedes
Rosberg GER Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team Mercedes
Ricciardo AUS Infiniti Red Bull Racing Red Bull-Renault
Kvyat RUS Infiniti Red Bull Racing Red Bull-Renault
Massa BRZ Williams Martini Racing Williams-Mercedes
Bottas FIN Williams Martini Racing Williams-Mercedes
Raikkonen FIN Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari
Vettel GER Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari
Button GBR McLaren Honda McLaren-Honda
Alonso ESP McLaren Honda McLaren-Honda
Hulkenberg GER Sahara Force India F1 Team Force India-Mercedes
Perez MEX Sahara Force India F1 Team Force India-Mercedes
Verstappen NED Scuderia Toro Rosso Toro Rosso-Renault
Sainz ESP Scuderia Toro Rosso Toro Rosso-Renault
Maldonado VEN Lotus F1 Team Lotus-Mercedes
Grosjean FRA Lotus F1 Team Lotus-Mercedes
Ericsson SWE Sauber F1 Team Sauber-Ferrari
Nasr BRZ Sauber F1 Team Sauber-Ferrari
CF1 Caterham F1 Team Caterham-Renault
CF1 Caterham F1 Team Caterham-Renault

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