Thursday Thoughts

12 11 2009

What is this?

Its a new initiative which began in the comments at sidepodcast to give blogger’s something to write about, Every Thursday there will be a new topic which many f1 blogger’s will all post about, and hopefully it will all come together to be compared, et.c… hopefully using some sort of 21st century webring at some point. Anyhow, more details over here:


This weeks topic is “Who Should Be Awarded Title of 2009 F1 Team Principle of the Year?”
There are a number of good candidates for this role this year, with the emergence of Brawn and Red Bull to the front of the grid putting Ross Brawn and Christian Horner at the forefront. The double world championships at Brawn, make Ross the logical choice in many people eyes, however i will not be giving him this award. He has overseen a miraculous transformation of a team from the lower end of the midfield and worse to the quickest team on the grid, all at the same time as having to rescue the team from disappearing in the wake of Honda’s exit and installing new power plants. However for this post Ross only comes in 3rd, I have massive respect for Ross, and he is an amazing guy, right up there with the best ever in F1 in my mind. however whilst his team did enough to win the championships, there switch to focus on 2010 meant the teams absolute dominance was lost in the 2nd half the season

Similarly one of the youngest principles on the grid, Christian Horner has also done a brilliant job, whith the expertise of Adrien Newye finaly paying dividends as he capitalised on the major rule changes to produce a stunningly quick car which would likely have have topped the field without the double diffuser teams. Christian was able to take the team through a major change in the concept of  the car to laregly dominate the latter half of the season. In my mind he also did a better job of maniging his 2 drivers than Ross, with less ‘convenient position changes’ during tight races, so i have narrowly awarded him 2nd place ahead of Mr Brawn.

In my mind the biggest achivement of the season from the first Free practice in Melbourne to the cheqard flag in Abu Dhabi, and therefore the winner of this contest is Martin Whitmarsh of Mclaren. This may be controversial, but look back to the beginning of the season, and he was put in the position he had waited long and hard for, taking over from the legendary Ron Dennis. The team were fresh from winning the world drivers title and keen to build on that to take the constructors as well. the first car of his reign was 2 seconds off the pace in winter testing, even with the best engine in the field… something was obviously wrong. To top that,  his first race saw the ‘Liegate’ scandel and the team were really on the ropes with there star driver even considering leaving the sport… Despite all this the team were able to move forwards with new parts at virtually every race, a decent performance in Bahrain was almost followed up with another showing at monaco untill Lewis found the wall. The teams perseverance was rewarded when their major upgrades for Germany enabled them to win at the Hungaroring, in a car which had previously been described as a dog, to the worst mclaren ever. Later on in the season, another win at Singapore, and a string of decent showings could easily been followed by another win in Abu Dhabi. Yes he did have massive technical resources at hand, and yes the team should probably not have started the year as it did, but in my mind Martin has done a terrific job, not only taking the team to the front, but also changing the face of Mclaren from a cold, hard hi-tech empire to a friendlier team. He turned one of the worst cars on the grid into a winner, which was a huge achievement. He made KERS work when all around were abandoning it, and in my mind he stepped out of Ron’s shadow. Hats off to him.


Singapore Build-up (Part 3)

26 09 2009

In this post I hope to give you a quick catch up on each team’s progress, an news stories which have effected them since the last race, as well as a quick look at their prospects for the weekend ahead and there free practice 1 and 2 times.


Mclaren seem to be undergoing some pretty fundamental changes to their existence at the moment, following the announcement of the first of their new sportscars at the Monza weekend. The car is powered with a Mclaren engine rather than a mercedees, and it seems the 2 companies are drifiting apart with Merceddes lloking to take a very large equity stake in Brawn. Thic could pave the way for Rosberg moving to Brawn instead of Mclaren. Alonso’s predicted move to Ferrari could well see Kimi returning to his old team to create a pretty formidable partnership alongside Lewis. The team did well at Monza, and lewis was half a lap from a podium. They have looked good at both Monaco and Valencia so we could see another good showing…

Lewis Hamilton

Much has been said about Lewis’ last lap crash as he was seemingly chasing the impossible overtake of Jenson to take 2nd place. There seems to be two camps, with sme saying it shows what a great racer he is giving his all to do just a little bit better despite not having the championship on the line. The other cap argue it was a foolish waste giving up a podium for a highly unlikely pay off  and squandering valuable points in the battle for 3rd place in the constructors championship. For what its worth I think they are both right. Lewis will be hoping for a better performance tomorrow after placing 7th and 9th in Friday practice.

Heikki Kovalainen

Heikki has seemed to struggle at the team this year, and his performance at Monza perhaps highlights why McLaren have been tempted to replace him. He showed genuine speed in practice and qualifying, however from the moment the race started he went backwards quickly and was unable to keep up with those around him. The fact that Lewis beat him comfortably despite being on a slower strategy will not be lost in Woking. Heikki’s best bet for a drive next year would appear to be Renault if he can, if not he should still pick up a drive with so many new cars on the grid and his experience at a top team. He was able to beat Lewis in both free practice sessions today with an impressive 3rd in FP2. However it is his pace during the race which he will need to improve on in order to impress potential employers.


The team from Marenllo appear to be the key to the driver market, at the moment but the lock appears to be rattling. President Luca Di Montezemolo effectively confirming Massa for next year and putting the seccond seat up for grabs between Alonso and Kimi. The recent scandal at Renault may promt the move to happen this year rather than next, after meeting Santander officals in Spain last week, when he is alleged to have sourced funding for paying off Kimi. In the meantime Ferrari seemhappy to pick up as many points as they can this year though the Finnish driver, however they appear to have given up developing this years car in order to focus on 2010.

Kimi Raikkonen

Kimi has had quite a resurgence over the summer months scoring a string of four podium finishes in a row. It would therefore seem logical to assume that the highest paid driver in F1 would not be in danger of loosing his seat. Not in F1 however. But that record speaks for itself, and he is under no real pressure to prove himself for the rest of the season, other than to show up Ferrari. It certainly might make it difficult for them to annonce Alonso if he was to win this weekend. However 9th and 14th place finishes in free practice do not show a lot of promise for the weekend.

Giancarlo Fisichella

The Veteran Italian’s dream continues for the second race in his red overalls, but after a difficult weekend at Monza where he struggled to get to grips with the car, he was in need of a big performance this weekend which going by the free practice times does not seem to be forth coming. With a 16th and 17th place he was not quite a Badoer levels, but she will need to improve to raise his chances of getting a drive next year if he wants one, laungising as a 3rd driver who can not test will effectively end your career as Luca Badoer can attest.

Red Bull Racing

The Red Bulls, much like the Brawns seem to be blowing Hot and Cold, simply unassailable speed at Silverstone and the Nurburgring has given way to a spate of underperformances and no further victories. The team suffered from the lack of power in the Renault engine at both Spa and Monza, a fact they were not to subtle about admitting. They are probably the most stable team in the paddock at the moment having confirmed both their drivers early. Question marks remain over their engine deal for next season however with the team seemingly being keen on a mercedees, but with no deal forthcoming the german manufacturer may be reconsidering its desire to supply so many front running teams

Mark Webber

He may be described as the unluckiest man in F1, but Mark has been having the season of his career, before the summer break he was a genuine championship contender and had won the first race of his career, a series of poor points hauls have led him to admit his contention is probably over after crashing out on the first lap of Monza. He will still be keen to beat his teammate though and he was doing well in Fp2 with the fastest time until he put the car into the pitwall.

Sebastian Vettel

He was having an astonishing season with a pair of wins to his name before his teammate edged ahead of him in the championship table, however he has been able to put himself ahead of his teammate in the last few races, scoring a fortuitous point after Lewis’s last lap accident at the last race. He says he wants to keep on fighting until its impossible to win the championship, and topping the timesheets in FP2 showed he will be a force this weekend. However a lack of engines could force a change and a grid penalty at somepoint, it has been speculated it could be as soon as this weekend.

Brawn GP

The fairytale continued at Monza with yet another 1-2 finish for the white cars. They have added a little colour to their car this weekend with a one-off deal with Cannon whos branding adorns the sidepods. The team have done well at stop-start circuits, a characteristic of the marina bay track. However difficulties getting heat into the tires may be a problem at the night race, although the Bridgestone official has said he expects the track to be warmer than others despite this, during an interview with the BBC. In any case it looks like they should win both championships, but Ross will be keen to ensure they don’t throw it away at the last miniute….

Jenson Button

Jenson’s form seemed to have returned to him at Monza, with the string of poor performances coming to an end with a second place, albeit with his main championship rival still taking two points out of his championship lead. The fact there hasn’t been a lone driver scoring big points against him has allowed him to stay at the summit, but he will be keen to win as soon as he can. Some great aggressive work in the first lap paid off for him at spa, but he may wish to avoid that prospect on a tighter street circuit. A 2nd and 5th best times in the Friday sessions suggest he could well be in the mix this weekend.

Rubens Barrichello

The most experienced Grand Prix racer ever has shown this year that he still has what it takes. Another win at Monza showed he is still in the championship every step of the way, however his resurgence may have come a little to late to overhaul his teammate. He will be confident on the Singapore streets after winning in Valencia, and he was able to top the timesheets in FP1. He was lucky to avoid the wall in FP2, which led to him only being 11th quickest in second practice.

FP1 times

Fp2 times

That was Epic! Might need to scale it back for future races!

Singapore Build-up (Part 2)

25 09 2009


The past few weeks have been difficult for the Hinwall based team, following BMW’s decision to withdraw from F1, and their difficulty to find a buyer. Well the good news is they found one, the bad news is that it was a few hours after the FIA gave their place on the grid to the new Malaysian/Lotus Team. The FIA have however positioned them as first reserve, and are pushing for extra grid spots to increase the field to 28 cars. If the team is successful they have announced they will be running Ferrari engines next year. I expect they will be looking to put in a good performance to reassure their new owners this weekend.

Robert Kubica

Whilst much of the paddock has been speculating where the Pole will be driving next year, with Williams, Renault And his current team the likely options, Robert has been filling the press with some bizarre musings about Nelson Piquet, calling for him to be punished. He must have a short memory however as he seemed to escape punishment for dangerously continuing around the circuit with a heavily damaged car in Australia. He will be hoping to impress potential team bosses, as well as doing better than his DNF at Monza; so far so good with top ten places in both practice sessions.

Nick Heidfeld

Nick seems to have been quiet this weekend, but he has praised the team being saved, which would suggest he is keen to stay. He is hopeful for the teams upgrades this race, and they look to be making an impact, he took his 14th place in FP1 and made it a 4th in FP3. He will be keen to finish again this week as his record of 41 races without a retirement continues.


Much uncertainty surrounds Williams driver line up for next year, with the possibility of both drivers being replaced. This is in part is connected to which engine they will run; It seems unlikely they will stay with Toyota, which would likely spell the end for Kazuki Nakajima, who is likely to be replaced by GP2 champion Nico Hulkenberg. The team’s other Nico (Rosberg) could stay although he seems keen to move his career along with a move to McLaren or Brawn. The team have also been stating their determination to run their unique KERS system next year, despite their rejoining of FOTA, who have a voluntary agreement to not run it.

Nico Rosberg

Nico has been putting in some great performances all year but has yet to be rewarded with a podium finish. He will be keen to put that right this weekend at a circuit he finished second at last year, despite a penalty for pitting under the safety car. He has ruled out calling himself the unofficial winner of the controversial race, however this year he will be keen to show off his skill to potential new teams. 11th and 7th in free practice show thee is still work to be done, but he will be aiming for Q3, then a charge deep into the points during the race.

Kazuki Nakajima

Kazuki will be keen to impress this weekend as his future in the sport looks to be in some doubt. Williams will almost certainly move to a new engine supplier Next season and the clauses which keep him in a Williams drive will be gone. He may have an opportunity with the Toyota works team, but he will need to prove himself capable of scoring points, something which he has failed to do so fat this year, despite his teammate having more than 30. He got off to a good start by beating Nico by 3 tenths in FP1 before being 7 tenths down on him in FP2.


Many people have questioned Toyota’s willingness to stay in the sport beyond the end of this year. However having signed the Concorde agreement the team appear to be committed to stay, however savings may have to be made. The teams cause was done no favours at Monza when the four cars running their engines appeared to be visibly down on the power of the rest of the field. They will not have been reassured by the FIA’s proposal to allow teams to reduce their power levels to reach parity instead of allowing the lower powered teams to catch up. This will be far less attractive to the likes of Ferrari and Mercedes and Toyota may continue to struggle next year.

Jarno Trulli

Jarno has had a difficult season, the year started with a lot of promise as the team looked to capitalise on its double diffuser advantage, however he was unable to capitalise on that, and seems to be a little down going into this weekend. The Toyota struggled at Monaco, and with Singapore being an even higher down force track it is likely to struggle there too. There are question marks over his age too, he has failed to deliver a win, it seems likely he would be moved on rather than his younger teammate if Nakajima was to be brought into the works team.

Timo Glock

Timo has also had a difficult couple of races, finishing 11th at Monza. Although he has been out performed so far this season in the quest for points, his age and nationality should ensure he remains high in Toyotas plans for the future of its F1 programme. He has out performed his teammate in Both practice sessions this weekend, but the team still don’t look to be scoring points.

Singapore Build-up Rundown (Part 1)

25 09 2009

In this post I hope to give you a quick catch up on each team’s progress, an news stories which have effected them since the last race, as well as a quick look at their prospects for the weekend ahead and there free practice 1 and 2 times.

(In reverse championship order)

Torro Rosso

No major news of note at the junior side of the red bull stable since Monza. Following the assurgency of Force India at the previous two races Torro Rosso lay bottom of the pile, 8 points shy of their nearest rivals. If there is any call for positivity, the Singapore street circuit is very different to the two previous low and medium downforce tracks of Monza and Spa. Despite suffering from similar electrical surges to those effecting by Red Bull last year the team believe the problem has been solved, demonstrated by the fact their head of electronics Alessandro Poggi has remained in Italy for the race to celebrate the birth of his daughter on Thursday.

Sebastian Buemi

Seb had a good start to preparations for the race when he beat his teammate in a 5-lap karting competition at a new track in the island state. He doesn’t look to be threatening the points this weekend however, but setting the 13th quickest time in FP1 was relatively impressive and he will be keen to secure a place in Q2 tomorrow.

Jaime Alguersuari

Jamie has been busy during the “weekend-off” between the two races, as he has continued competing in the Formula Renault 3.5 alongside his F1 commitments to Torro Rosso. Last weekends race at the Nurbergring was the penultimate round of the season, however it was not as successful a weekend as he might have hoped, qualifying 10th and finishing 5th and 8th in the races. He may be feeling some pressure for his place in the F1 car as fellow Red Bull driver Brendon Hartley was quickest in Qualifying and finished 2nd in the main race. Sebastian was less than stellar in the first free practice sessions Finishing last in FP2 and last but for Roman Grosjean whose session was curtailed in the first session.

Force India

The teams stellar performances at the last two races have shocked both the paddock and those watching at home, if not that team themselves. They have had to deal with the departure of the experienced Giancarlo Fisichella to Ferrari, and the debut of his replacement, Vitantonio Liuzzi Impressed many last weekend before mechanical troubles ended his race early. The twisty, slow speed nature of the Marina Bay circuit is unlikely to suit the team as well as the high speed sections of Spa and Monza. However the team will be hoping that the update that brought the team 10th and 12th place finishes in Valencia will pay dividends on the Singapore streets.

Adrian Sutil

Adrian will have been pleased to have pushed Kimi Raikkonen all the way for a podium finish at Monza after being out-performed by his team mate at spa. However the departure of Fisichella may well prove to be a mixed blessing. Whilst he is now the senior driver in the team, he is up against the highly rated Liuzzi. He will be keen to beat him this weekend and secure his future with the team. He performed relatively well in the Friday practice sessions, beating his teammate by a second and a half in the first session and just under a second in FP2. However two twelfth place times will be a disappointment after the heady performances of the past 2 races.

Vitantonio Liuzzi

Antonio impressed on his debut for the team at Monza, however Singapore is a track which he does not know and will pose far more of a challenge than his home grand prix. He has tried to temper expectations ahead of the race, and it would seem rightly so after he was only able to manage two 18th places. However he was able to beat fellow midseason newcomers Alguersuari and Grosjean in both sessions.


Tumultuous probably isn’t a strong enough adjective to describe the goings on at Renault F1 over the past month. If you haven’t heard about what happened you are probably reading the wrong blog, suffice it to say Nelson Piquet Junior now unofficially has a corner named after him on the Marina Bay Track. However I will point you in the direction of the recordings of the FIA hearing which are a good listen. The team has had to get to grips with new leadership, as former technical director Bob Bell has taken the reigns.. It’s been a difficult start as the team had to quickly redecorate the car as two sponsors, including title sponsor ING pulled their support. The cars have large black Renault stickers in their place

Fernando Alonso

You might have thought that returning to the ‘scene of the crime’ just days after being cleared of any personal involvement in his teams conspiracy at last years race would prompt Alonso to keep a low profile. He has been trying, but understandably the press has been pushing him hard for answers and comment. Ironicly he is also involved in the other big off track story, where will he be racing next year? He claims to have made his mind up where he wants to race, but Ferrari have said they will be meeting in the next few days between Kimi and Alonso. He hasn’t let all the off the track events distract him however, easily out performing his rookie teammate by converting a 4th place in FP1 into an impressive 2nd in FP2

Romain Grosjean

Although I cant be certain, I suspect Romain has been working at his day job in the bank. His weekend began badly as he was almost ruled out due to food poisoning, but managed to fight back to 99.9% fitness for FP1. Its likely his stomach along with those of the rest of his team took a turn for the worse however, as he managed to replicate his predecessors accident at the infamous ‘turn 17’. He was unable to get off the bottom of the time sheets finishing 20th and 19th. He will be keen to do better this weekend as rumours abate of him being replaced by Lucas DiGrassi before the end of the season.


==Free Practice 1 ==Free Practice 2

A letter to Joe- Two Cheats

21 09 2009

This was an e-mail I sent to Joe Saward last week in response to his article on Two Crashes , let me know what you think…

I read your blog post on ‘Two crashes’ the other day, and having time to reflect on “crashgate” it got me thinking about two acts of positively unsportsmanlike behaviour which have come to light in F1 this season.

The first being Lewis’ false testimony to the stewards in Melbourne, leading to another competitor being disqualified; and the second, Nelsiniho Piquet deliberately crashing in Singapore last year. Both these incidents have rightly been condemned by the racing press, but the judgements on the protagonists appear to have been quite different. Whilst Lewis took some initial criticism, it was never suggested that he should never drive again; much harsher judgement has fallen on the young Brazilian. Both of them were relatively young guys, the same age as me as it happens, and both of them have put forward defences that they were following the instructions of the teams they had put their trust into.

The two of them battled in 2006 for the GP2 championship, and there was very little to choose between them. As we all know the following year Lewis was given a dream ticket into a seat at McLaren and duly impressed the world, whilst Nelson took up a testing role at Renault before moving into the race team the following season. Whilst Nelson has failed to impress the F1 world, I can’t help but feel he has been treated in a very differently.

For all the mitigating pressures on Lewis, he knowingly gave a false testimony to the stewards in order to have another competitor disqualified wrongly. But was he in a position to lose his place in the team, was his career in jeopardy? The answer to both these questions is no, there were no pressures on him; his actions were borne out of his trust and his loyalty to his team.

Now looking at Nelson, his team asked him to crash (as we are led to believe), and he duly did so, potentially putting himself in the line of injury as he did so. It skewed the result of the race. However unlike Lewis, he was faced with an uncertain future, his results had led to his place in the team being in doubt, and if let go he would face a very difficult challenge to return to top level motorsport.

I am not defending the actions of either of them, but it does seem their treatment has been quite different. Perhaps the manner in which the evidence has come to light has skewed the opinions of some, but the fundamental facts in my mind do not equate to the judgements I have read.

You praised Lewis in your article for his racing spirit, prepared to do everything for the result, even if it resulted in him ending up in a wall. The circumstances for nelson were completely different, but on some level was he not striding for the same thing? A new contract, another chance, another opportunity to win. You can’t get to the chequered flag if you are not on the grid, and if you are prepared to give it all to get to the flag, would you not be prepared to give it all to get on the grid?

I am not saying he has earned another drive based on his performances, which have constantly been below an acceptable standard, rather that he has been judged by a double standard, and he shouldn’t be isolated for the crimes of those who should have known better.

I hope this wasn’t too far out of left field; I am a huge admirer of your writing,



This evening i also responded to James Allen’s post with a similar comment  I thought I would add it here so as not to loose it to the ether

Interesting post James, Perhaps no one will want to hire young Nelson at the moment, but peoples memories in F1 are selective and short.

Take Lewis Hamilton’s cheating, which was every bit as bad as nelsons perhaps even worse. He was under no pressure to cheat, his career certainly wasn’t in danger, yet he still went to the stewards and told lies so his competitor would be disqualified wrongly.

I dont blame lewis for that, he was led astray by people who should have known better, even more so for nelson, who was under pressure from people who should have been helping him. Nelson was a year younger at the time of his incident than Lewis was at his.

For all the moral judgements passed upon him. the verdicts in f1 are fickle, we want to see more of the winners and less of the losers. Nelson’s time in F1 has been as a looser, but if we can see the brilliant kid who took Lewis to the GP2 title come back again, all will be forgiven


What penalties could the issue following Renault’s decision to admit guilt in the crash-gate case?

16 09 2009

(Slightly different style of post, the blog may move some way in this direction)

The first concern should in my mind be a penalty strong enough to discourage anyone else from attempting anything similar. Yes, it is true that the wider team and parent company did not know what was happening, but they were responsible for the appointment of people who were capable of this and they are ultimately responsible for the team

As I see it, a ban of some sort is essential, at least for Singapore, if not the rest of the season. A fine and a slap on the wrist will not suffice here. The team needs to be punished. Avoiding Singapore may also do the team a favour as it is possible action could be taken against it for match fixing.

Secondly there is the issue of prize money the team won last season, the team rallied late in the season, spring boarding on to a second win in Japan. This entitles them to grab a larger share of the money awarded at the end of the season, to the cost of its rival. Whilst the FIA cannot disqualify the team from last season, it could fine the team the equivalent of the money it won, which would seam like a prudent response, the FIA could then use this money to compensate the teams which finished below them last year.

Thirdly we need to look at the team personnel involved, Flavio Briatore and Pat Symonds. Both of them have left the team today, but it seems unlikely this will be sufficient punishment in the eyes of the FIA. Pat Symonds was yesterday offered immunity, we do not yet know if he took this up triggering today’s events, or whether he opted to stand with the team and his long term colleague Flavio.  However if he hasn’t co-operate the evidence against him is pretty damming. He will likely face a ban for the sport for some time. Flavio will likely bit as hard, if not harder. The situation with him is slightly more complicated by his involvement in GP2 and his management of current F1 drivers such as Mark Webber. It will be interesting to see if any FIA penalty affects these activities.

Finally we move onto the drivers. Nelson Piquet Junior has had a difficult F1 career at Renault, perhaps illustrated best when his team principle and personal manager thought the best thing he could do for the team was to crash. He had shown promise when he raced against Lewis in GP2, and whilst I am not suggesting he could have been a future world champion, I don’t believe he was given a fair chance at Renault. Nevertheless, his F1 career appears to be all but over, unless his father can find a way to fund him into a team and he can rebuild his career. NASCAR or other racing in the states may be a possibility, although again it may be difficult with his reputation.

Fernando Alonso the eventually beneficiary of the crash has not yet been named as being involved in this plot at by any of the protagonists, although the bizarre strategy the team put him on must have raised his eyebrows. It’s quite likely he wasn’t told, but I expect he could work out something was going on and sat there waiting for something to happen. It appears unlikely he will be punished, although when people look back at his career wins, there may well be an asterisk next to the number of wins to denote the ‘stolen win’ in Singapore.

All of this is pure speculation on my part at this point, and we will know nothing until the WMSC convenes in Paris next Monday. The future of the Renault F1 team must be called into question. This scandal has undoubtedly damaged the reputation of the car maker, and the team is without a major sponsor for next year. Rumours are that Alain Prost could come in, as well as possible involvement by Dave Richards of Prodrive/Aston Martin. More will become clear over the teams future over the coming weeks.

Tuesday September 8 2009

8 09 2009

Could Mercedes ditch Red Bull before their deal has even been signed?- It has been widely speculated that red bull had decided to switch from Renault to Mercedes. However German car firm has today shelved its plans to announce its engine plans for next year at Monza. Speculation is that this may be part of the Brawn equity deal, which seams plausible. Equally plausible is the possibility that the powers that be aren’t so keen on 1 engine supplier at 3 of the top 5 teams. Of course it could just be that negotiations are held up. Williams will be looking on eager eyed, but I guess we wont hear any more until they are ready to announce it…

Ferrari and Santander to make an announcement at MonzaWhat’s this! One of McLaren’s top sponsors’ having an event with their big rivals Ferrari? The sponsorship deal has been long known about, if not confirmed, but the event could be one to watch. Ferrari traditionally confirm their driver line-ups for the following year at Monza. Could announcement with a big Spanish sponsor bring about some other Spanish flavoured news? Quite possibly; although it is also conceivable that they may wish to wait whilst the FIA investigate Alonso’s role in the alleged actions of Renault at the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix

Massa Speaks- In an exclusive interview with the guardian… He speaks about his accident and the difficulties it has put though both him and his wider family. The audio is ruined by a terrible interviewer so it probably best to just read the text, but even this is fraught with errors (The incident occurred during Qualifying, not practice) He comes across very well though, the incident has clearly had a big impact on him, but he still hopes to be back and quick as ever. And its very interesting to here how he had contacted the Surtees family a few days before. But just as we are so taken away with what a nice guy he is; he talks about how Jenson could be choking for the title like Lewis almost did last year. He seems to sum up Ferrari… does 99% of what’s required to like make you genuinely likable before holding up a massive reminder of why you had to be convinced in the first place. Still, all the best for his recovery.