Free Practice 1– The F1 cars are back! it was great to see them back in anger after (an unnecessary) few weeks away. The session ends up looking good for McLaren with their cars 1st and second, and pretty good for brawn too with Ruben’s topping the sheets. Looks like the sweltering temps got them some heat into the tyres. What this tells us though is another matter, as we don’t know what the teams have been running in terms of fuel loads and what their goals for the session were.
Whitmarsh tells us Alonso is off to Ferrari. FOTA unity taken to the next level? Now McLaren are announcing Ferrari’s future driver line ups! Possibly a slip of the tongue, but as the McLaren boss was questioned over his future line up he cited Alonso’s move as shuffling up the driver market. I have no doubt he knows things we don’t, but was this more than just paddock gossip? It certainly won’t please Ferrari to hear what he said, but it does give the rumours a new level of credibility.
Free Practice 2: It began with reports of no screens working in media centre at the beginging of the session which isnt great after the debarcle in Hungary. Rosberg hit a bug live on onboard his onboard camera which gave us a sniff of drama as the director stuck with him and the bug for a few corners. Badoer appears to be cruising around like it really is a test session at one point he was 5 seconds off the pace. If he doesn’t pick the pace up over the weekend he will be gone before Spa. Looked good for Brawn against Button and Barrichello traded fastest laps during the seesion, and they will be pleased to have finished 2nd and 3rd. McLaren had a new front wing: Heikki took it 2nd quickest in FP1, Lewis took it sideways and although he managed to avoid a major meeting with the wall in FP2, he did enough damage to not go out again. Alonso put in a good showing on the timing sheets as he topped the session; they did look good in Hungary until the wheel fell off. It did make Grosjean look particularly bad though as he languished in 17th. Alonso had a big incident with Nick Heidfeldtoward the end of the session. Locking up into the last corner, before loosing his front wing and sending the BMW flying in the process…. This amused Schumacher.
Sebastian Vettel Extends his Red Bull Deal– Having bought the youngster up into F1 (although admittedly not giving him his first drive) Red Bull have signed the young German up until the end of 2011 with the option of another year. Good news for Red Bull as he is there star. It’s a bit of a risk for Vettel as he will obviously be on the big bucks, but will he have a car under him to win with for the next few years. I have no doubts about his speed, but I do still question his overtaking ability, and being stuck in the midfield will put this under a big microscope.
Fisi to be a Ferrari a test driver in 2010? Despite the fact he told AUTOSPORT he wasn’t going to, and the testing ban effectively meaning he would be retired, it must be an attractive option for the aging Italian racer to go to what is effectively the Italian national team. He seems like a nice enough guy, but I don’t see what he is achieving back there on the grid. It may be time for some younger blood to come in and show what they can do.
Webber says Red Bull below par at this stage- They have had a couple of great races since Silverstone, but they still lag in the championship. They cant afford to lag behind the brawns anywhere, especially where they will be strong given the higher temperatures. Vettel might have been unlucky not to finish in Hungary, but Its only Friday so don’t write them off just yet, as there is plenty of time before the points and prizes are handed out
Could Bernie pull the plug on Valencia and send the European GP to Silverstone? – Well its certainly an interesting idea. Valencia looked poor on TV today. The best scenes were of the people having fun on the beach, hardly any pictures of the grandstands suggest no one was watching the racing. The circuit is an ugly procession though concrete barriers going part such highlights as the container port and a dull old fish market. Going over the bridge is the only real highlight on a circuit which appears to be to be near on impossible to overtake at due to having go many corners and minimal straights. Silverstone on the other hand has been packed of late if the British GP does go to Donnington, it would be great to keep it on the calendar. It would certainly be a turnaround from speculation earlier this year that there could be no races in Britain.
Renault let off again as driver’s miss autograph session– Not a lot to say here really. It was a good initiative, and I am glad they have just been reminded of it. But it does strike me that the whole race is here for Fernando Alonso. It seems ironic that he was the one that missed the autograph signing. I hope his fans don’t feel too let down; hopefully Renault can sort out another session.
Badoer gets fined for speeding– Well who can blame him, its his first real race weekend so he needs time to get to terms with the limiter. But then he did it again. Which was clumsy but forgivable. Then a third, which was just reckless. Then a fourth… WHATS WRONG WITH YOU MAN?
Todt shows off– What’s the best way to counter your opponents manifesto? In the world according to Todt it’s to shower yourself in praise from important motorsport people from all over the world. Its certainly an impressive list even if it perhaps wasn’t the classiest move. More on Ari and Jean in a post this weekend.
That’s today’s rundown. What do you all think?