Monday September 7 2009

7 09 2009

Mclaren want to buy a stake in Brawn? The deal has come of a bit of a surprise to everyone, however it does make some sense if you look at what has been happening at McLaren. They are ending their partnership to build specialist top end Mercedes cars so they can develop their own supercar line, which i belive the engines for these will be Mercedes, but they will be solely for McLaren use and not part of their normal line, a bit like the engine in the Bugatti Veyron. Mercedes may want to use brawn as their replacement, Brawn Mercedes SLR anyone? Taking a stake in the team will also allow them to brand the cars more extensively and use them in Marketing, all of which are attractive. Whilst i don’t expect to see silver brawns with a yellow stripe around the nose to compliment the silver McLaren with a red stripe, Mercedes branding on the brawn has been almost non existent this year, i think that’s unlikely to continue.

Liuzzi in at force India- Replacing the outgoing Fisichella, Force India have followed the logical course of action and promoted their reserve driver. I am sure he will be keen to impress in a car that looks set to place well up the field at Monza, he will be eyeing a drive with the team in 2010, and he will probably need to beat his teammate who disappointed at Spa to do that. Their had been speculation that team principle Vijay Mallya would look to put a pay driver in the car to help with the budget, but whilst he seems to put that idea to the backburner now, both drivers will be aware the option remains for next year.

Donnington Bullish on progress, mouse-ish on details- Simon Gillette appears to be keen to tell the media that everything is proceeding on track for next year’s British GP to be hosted at Donnington. He has good reason to as Bernie demanded some assurances by the end of the month. It is one thing to say that progress is being made, but I guess we will have to wait until the end of the month to really find out.


Friday September 4th 2009

4 09 2009

Renault to appear before the WMSC One of the unfortunate hangovers from last weekends otherwise great race at spa was the emergence of a story that the FIA were actively investigating a previous world championship event. This was the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix, where Alonso was able to triumph thanks to a timely safety car caused by his teammate just after he emerged from the pits. Apparently there was suspicion in the paddock at the time, and the most interesting claim for me was the fact that Massa actually confronted Flav about it. I don’t think it would have gone this far if there wasn’t serious evidence beyond Piquet’s say so. It does raise some interesting questions, if Flav and the senior management were to receive bans, and Renault pull the plug, what happens to the team?

Toyota set to stay in F1 but stop the huge spending An outbreak of common sense may have struck, good news that they are staying but they have been spending way too much for far too long. It would cost them a fortune to close the team down with such a big staff, and it would be hard to run it as an independent team given both its location and the size of its facility. Hopefully they will stay; at least until they can say they have more wins than Honda.

Peter Sauber in Malaysia Pretty much a sign that all is not well with prospects for his team to be around next year. I wasn’t aware that PETRONAS had signed up for three years so close to the withdrawal of BMW. They are clearly unhappy and I would be surprised if they had an exit clause to cover such an eventuality. If PETRONAS do throw their weight behind a lotus team, then I cant see Sauber continuing. Interesting also to note that the car company does not own the rights to the name Team Lotus. It will be interesting to see how this develops if they do not wish to cooperate with litespeed. Could they run the team calling it lotus grand prix for example?

Rossi could have raced at Monza Well as pleased as I am for Fisi to jump in the spare red car, it would have been even more amazing to see what Rossi could do in an F1 car. I would love the likes of him and Loeb to jump in F1 cars and see where they rate against the likes of Lewis, Kimi and Fernando. Maybe in the future perhaps?

Thursday September 3rd 2009

3 09 2009

Lotus to return to F1?- Speculation started to emerge from twitter this morning that the lotus marquee could be returning to the f1 grid. Initially being reported by Ian Burrows  of F1 was the idea that it could be a merger with Sauber, with the Malaysian government taking control of the team, and using it to promote both the state owned oil firm of PETRONAS who have been a long term major sponsor of the team, as well as also owning lotus through their control of Proton cars. Later on Autosport reported that this could in fact be a rival bid designed to take Sauber’s place on the grid. The latter of these 2 options appeal to me more. Whilst I am a big fan of having f1 teams based all around the world (it is after all a world championship), the prospect of a legendary team like Lotus retuning is a mouth-watering prospect, but if it does return I would like it to do so properly from Norfolk and not simply be a Sauber with a different badge and a lick of paint. If Sauber loose their primary sponsor of PETRONAS as well as BMW it is very difficult to see how it could continue.

Ferrari add some Fizz- It was a pretty badly kept secret at the weekend, despite everyone acting as if they hadn’t the foggiest idea where the rumours had come from, but Giancarlo Fisichella is now officially Ferraris driver for the remaining 5 races of the 2009 season, and there reserve driver beyond that. His stunning drive to 2nd at the weekend probably sealed the deal and added a few more pennies on to his contract. He has given up any chance of a race seat next year to do it which shows how much the chance to drive a Ferrari means to him. I wish him all the best and it would be an amazing fairytale for him to win at Monza in 10 days time.

Force India’s success gives McLaren the Hurry up- Well the topsy turvy nature of this season has struck a blow to the egos of McLaren as the team they provide technical assistance to beat them at Spa. I hope they don’t take it too hard though, they have had a highly impressive turn around themselves, and I think they would be far better optimising themselves for next season than trying to eek out 3rd place in the constructors championship this year.

I have been a bit out of the lop for a few days, but hopefully normal service has been resumed!

Friday August 28th 2009

28 08 2009

Force India in trouble First there were bailiffs attempting to seize the team’s motorhome in Germany, then stories emerged that the team was having trouble paying its bills to Ferrari and McLaren. Now the team have arrived at Spa with what is best described as a cross between a trailer and a horse box. What on earth is going on there? I hope they don’t have to leave the sport, but you really have to wonder what is going on there at the moment.

Ferrari try to be funny Fresh from there verbal assault at Williams the Ferrari press office has had an attempt at some humour publishing an A-Z of drivers who could fill Massa’s seat for the next few races. Not incredibly funny, but it does show they have a sense of humour and don’t just fire off angry comments at rival teams.

Season to end with a sunsetAbu Dhabi has revealed a unique start time for the final race of the season, with a poetic transition from sunshine to darkness occurring as the race moves on. This had been rumoured for a while last year but it was thought the problems drivers had with the low sun in Australia would rule out the prospect of a race later on when the problem would be worse. Perhaps the problem wont be as bad as it was in Melbourne, the high humidity and smog levels create a low level of cloud which the sun will set though which will prevent it from being too harsh, and not to mention the fact that being on the edge of the tropics, the sun drops quickly so it will not linger low like it did in Melbourne. It should be spectacular in any case. I expect the drivers will race with clear visors with tinted tear offs on top of them. It is interesting to note that whilst the drivers did complain after melbourne that the sun was too low, 24 hour races have been dealing with this problem for some time. If you can hammer down the straights at Le Mans, i dont see why you cant potter around the marina in Abu Dhabi

Journalist asks silly question, Gets silly answer Perhaps it shows Jenson feels he is under a lot of pressure, perhaps it proves that F1 journalists can sometimes ask silly questions. If I was an F1 journalist my questions would always be sensible… I am sure the press room at spa found it quite funny and I suspect we won’t see many Brawn exclusives in The Times for the foreseeable future.

Bahrain to host season opener?- In a bid to find the best time to hold a race in Melbourne without doing it at night the race could be set to loose it s place as the opening race on the calendar, with Bahrain in the frame to replace it as it did in 2006. It would be a shame to loose Melbourne, but if it means the season starts earlier and the winter break isn’t quite as long, then I am all for starting in Bahrain.  It has been a good venue for the end of the flyaways though which would be a shame to loose.

Hamilton and Trulli top the timesheets– Too early in the weekend to really know whets going on, who is sand bagging and who is running light. P1 was wet and that’s supposed to get all the rain done with for the weekend which would normally make me happy, but wet races do seem to be more fun these days. The commentators seemed to all be pretty excited about what was going on in sector 2 as apparently this is the key to the lap. And Going by that Red Bull seem to have the strongest car. If you wish to be unconventional Brawn seem to be better in Sector 1. this features a sharp hairpin then a long up hill drag. Power would seem to be the key, and I wonder if that will factor into Red Bulls engine choice for next year?

Thats todays rundown…

Tuesday August 24th 2009

25 08 2009

Brawn financed for the future with sponsorship deals- One of the biggest mystery’s of the season has been Brawns mysterious lack of sponsors given their success. Of course economically times are hard and many companies don’t want to be seen splashing out on expensive sponsorship deals at a time when they need are making job cuts. The signing of the Concorde has obviously helped things along and Brawn will have a shiny new sponsor for next season, so expect the cars to stay with their classical white look for the foreseeable future. I wonder who it cold be? O2? Sony? Coca-Cola? The mind Boggles!

More Business News- PitPass has an interesting article on sponsorship exposure at the European GP. Mclaren and their title sponsor Vodafone come off expecialy well, but I found it quite interesting how much the relative values are compared to the cost of running TV and print ads. James Allen also has an interesting point on the end of his article on Brawns news. He tells us how Richard Branson has been able to use his access to the F1 Paddock thorough his Brawn sponsorship to do some deals. Its an area of F1 sponsorship we don’t often hear about which I thought was interesting. He also raises the prospect of Manor being named Virgin, which sounds good if only for the amusing headlines it could produce.

Cosworth to be down on power next year? Not too surprising really considering all the running the other teams have had since the Cosworth V8 last ran for Williams. They have been quite bullish on their chances, but I expect them to be down at least at the start. But with development frozen hopefully they can catch up quickly.

Are the Nerves getting to Jenson? At the start of the season perhaps one of his biggest assets was his attitude. He was happy to just be there after a difficult winter, and the fact he didn’t have to worry about championships with ever race success being an added bonus shone though. In Bahrain he had the confidence to put a risky move on Lewis, early on without the fear of damaging his championship chances. Now leading the championship and struggling or a few races, the pressure is beginning to mount. Hopefully he can remember how he felt before Melbourne and that will relax him enough to let the car work well where it does and just try to do as well as he can when it doesn’t. Being stressed certainly won’t help him and hopefully the early season Jenson will be back sooner rather than later.

Red Bull are soon to make a decision on their 2010 Engine Logic says they will side with Mercedes after the reliability issues they have had with the Renault power plant this year. It is also significant to note they went with Renault because it seemed to be the dominant engine at the time with Alonso winning championships against the Ferrari’s. It could be good for the sport to have 3 top teams all running the same engines, but on the other hand Variety is the spice of life and I don’t want to see F1 becoming a spec engine series vs the Ferrari’s. There is also the issue of how Mercedes would handle a straight fight between the Red Bulls and McLaren’s for the title if the situation emerged…

F1 is not a sport Well there you have it. I guess all the Soap Opera politics and comical responses of Bernie which have entertained us for the past few months have not had the same effect on the Indian government. This poses a problem for a future Indian Grand Prix. But until the secuirity situation in idia improves enough perhaps it would be better to wait a few years, and make sure the event is a spectacle for the surrounds and the racing and not the security

Nelson for Ferrari? It seems like the logical move the paddock has been waiting to here, although nothing firm has been said, Nelson tweeted the following in response to a cartoon by the ever brilliant Bruno Mantovani: (TRANSLATED)Very cool! Thanks Mantovani! God willing, will be it! 😉 Here’s hoping!

…And thats todays F1Rundown!

Monday 24th August 2009

24 08 2009

Red Bull to not run KERS at Spa Well there isn’t a big surprise they haven’t run it so far and it seems a bit of a stretch to just bolt it on in the 2 day turnaround between back to back GP’s. They might still run it at Monza hough where I expect the long straights and lare braking zones make it perhaps the best circuit for the system.

Bridgestone announce tyre compounds for the remaining races of the year- Some of them are consecutive compunds some of them have the wider spread we saw at the beginning of the year. To be honest I am not all theat bothered. I think the mandatory running of two compounds rule is completely silly, and I hope it is ditched sooner or later. Formula one is about teams optimising their equipment to the absoloute peak of technology, using unsuitable tyres because of a illy rule makes no sense at all. It doesn’t help Bridgestone either as more often than not their tyres are seen to be not working properly.

Badoer set to keep seat at Spa- Despite the fact that everyone who has ever seen as much as a photograph of an F1 car believing they could do a better job, it looks like Ferrari will persist with the veteran Italian Tester. It doesn’t make sense to me, and the lap times cant make sense to Ferrari either. The only theory is it is one massive retirement present for the guy who did make a largely unsung contribution to Ferrari’s dominance under Schumacher. How long they continue with the theory is another matter.

Gene is not the happiest guy around-Well hes been overlooked for his home GP and too really rub the salt in the guy who has replaced him has perhaps the most disappointing race in a Ferrari for a long time. To make matters worse Luca’s performance has been so bad it may mean that Ferrari go to a driver like the underrated Nelson Piquet as he is up to speed with modern F1 cars and has been racing for Renault. Gene could argue that winning Le Mans proves he has raced enough, but the lack of testing in the current car may purseude Ferrari to look externally.

Valencia and Suzuka sign race deals- We are going back to Valencia for 5 more years which is a disaster, it is a terrible circuit. If I had to say something good about it the bridge is lovely and its nice to see the cars by the water. Unfortunatly in terms of racing it has little to offer, I don’t think there has been a significant overtake in the two GP’s it has hosted, and there are no corners of note. But alas, the bad news does come with a spoonful of good as Suzuka have signed up to run the Japanese GP in 2010 to fill the gap between the 09’ and 11’ races which was to be run at Fuji before the dropped out. Its great news, Suzuka is one of the best circuits in F1 in my opinion, and if we have to put up with the tedium of Valencia in order to race their then so be it.

Thats todays rundown What do you all think?

2009 Grand Prix of Europe- Valencia

23 08 2009

Williams are keen to end Toyota deal- Probably a good thing for the team. With the arrival of Cosworth they no longer need to be beholden to a rival manufacturer. The costs have fallen considerably so they no longer need to run a driver to pay for them. Might be a bit of a risk to jump to Cosworth for next season without seeing if they are really up to speed. But if they really want to run Kers, and Toyota wont give them an engine which allows them too then they will have to look elsewhere.

Toyota yet to receive their 2010 F1 Budget This is one of those rumours which just wont go away, despite the fact that they have signed the Concorde agreement doubts continue about their future. I cant see them leaving, it would be very difficult and expensive to shut the operation down as Honda and RMW have shown. They could of course try and use their facilities as a tech centre like has been proposed by BMW but their signing of the Concorde agreement makes this even more complicated. I hope they stay, they don’t have much to loose, and they have yet too taste success, I am sure they are keen to surpass Honda’s achievements if they can, and as the biggest car maker in the world I would hope they can afford it.

Schumacher rules out a comeback this year and likely ever.– I am not sure if this will be effected by Badoer’s performance today, but it will likely help the driver market as rumours of a reunion with Ross Brawn remained. Whatever your opinion of him, he was a divisive future, and although this did bring something to the F1 show, I think his era has passed and its time for the next generation of Legends to shine.

Bernie Gives Donington a Deadline- The seemingly never ending saga of the British Grand Prix continues, with Bernie appearing to threaten to take the race away from Donington altogether unless hey can prove they have the funding needed by the end of next month. This is quite a turnaround for the man who said he would be happy for the race to take a year out of the calendar if Donington couldn’t manage a race in 2010. I think the massive crowds at Silverstone may have swayed him, especially after disappointing crowds at so many races this year.


Ruuuubennnnnnnnnnns!- Great result for not just him but the sport in general. He has had a rough time of it this year with Jenson winning so many races, and the strain of it has shown at times, most notably at Barcelona where he should have won, and in germany where he was a tad upset at the result. I am sure the whole paddock was pleased, but his crying on the radio, and dance on the podium were brilliant moments.

The worm turns in a can of Red Bull- They had the luck, they had the glory, but it all evaporated and this weekend will be one red bull will want to forget. The weekend hasn’t been great with Webber struggling in qualifying and Vettel loosing an engine in free practice 3. They looked to have a change of fortune at the start as button struggled and ended up having to give up a place to Webber after he cut a chicane. Vettel will not be happy with the team as a day after signing a new deal he was first let down with refuelling problems at a pitstop, and then yet another failure of his Renault engine. He seems to have far worse luck with them than the other 3 driver using them, I wonder if this is down to his driving style. In any case he is shot on engines, which is not great at this point of the season.  Webbers race was never going to be stellar but being caught behind the heavy McLaren of Kovaleinen during the 2nd round of pitstops he was jumped by Jenson and a resurgent Kubica.

Thats todays rundown- what do you all think?