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Thinking ahead to 2009
Posted By:   |  04 Nov 2008   |  9:50 pm GMT  |  0 comments

Back in the UK after the long BA flight from Sao Paulo. It was very quiet on the plane as almost everyone had a hangover and had had little or no sleep. The two parties were the big one thrown by Red Bull at a place called the Mausoleum and a McLaren celebratory bash, near the Hilton in Morumbi. There were probably 3,000 people at the Red Bull do, most of the paddock plus a lot of Brazilian lovelies.

It’s what you expect F1 to be like, but the truth is that only really Red Bull has brought that kind of thing about, probably because it is Mateschitz’s idea of what F1 should be all about!  But I hear that they are cutting back next year so no more £1 million parties. They had hired Gorillaz to play, the animated band which is a side project of Blur’s Damon Albarn. I love their music, but they were rubbish live, lots of incoherent shouting into mikes and no sign of Albarn. The other party was worth looking in on.

Next season has already started. It will be very different with completely new-looking cars, slick tyres, driver-adjustable front wings and KERS. Ross Brawn told us on Saturday evening that you can use KERS at the start of the race, once the car has reached 100km/h, which is about 2 seconds after the lights go out. The driver will be able to hit the push to pass button and this will give 2-3 car lengths advantage compared with a car not using KERS. Toyota have said that they will not run their system until mid season, so they will be left behind at the race starts. [ more ]

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  1. JerseyJH says:

    Hi James

    Might not be the right place to ask but I was just wondering if you will be doing any blogs on other motorsport series such as the GP2 Asia, alongside the F1 of course.

    Regards

    JerseyJH

  2. Ollie says:

    Next season has already started. It will be very different with completely new-looking cars, slick tyres, driver-adjustable front wings and KERS.

    Oh boy, it really has. The off-season may be only a couple of days old, but the anticipation is already growing!

    Ross Brawn told us on Saturday evening that you can use KERS at the start of the race, once the car has reached 100km/h, which is about 2 seconds after the lights go out. [...] Toyota have said that they will not run their system until mid season, so they will be left behind at the race starts.

    Wow, that is very interesting. Considering KERS is still optional for 2009, I was wondering why so much effort was being put into the technology. I now know, and thank you for the insight. Do you think this will hurt Ferrari as well, who have openly admitted they are behind in this area?

    And a few final words…

    …I admire a person who puts their thoughts and feelings into an online publication. It isn’t easy, but it is worthwhile. So that leads me to wonder about the author of these posts. At the very top of this post it says speedmerchant, and while I have no doubt that Mr Allen might be a man who enjoys driving fast, I cannot help but think it would be better if the line said “authored by James Allen”. Just my two-penneth (I understand if this last paragraph gets erased ;) ) Keep up with the blog though, so far it has been interesting to follow, and no doubt will be in the future.

  3. Rob H says:

    Hello James,

    On a loosely related note, you have gone on record in many other online publications of yours in saying that you do not consider Felipe Massa will be a title threat in future seasons and that this year was his one chance.

    Just to ask whether Sunday’s race changed any of your views on this subject? It was a very impressive drive that showed he could handle the pressure and drive in all sorts of weather conditions.

    As far as BMW are concerned, I agree that the fact they decided to start work early makes them likely WCC contenders, and Kubica’s consistency will make him a formidable oppnent for Massa, Hamilton, Raikkonen, Alonso & co. However, I also think Nick Heidfeld will be a contender for the drivers’ championship if BMW build the right car. In terms of outright talent I see the two are being fairly even, as we have seen towards the back end of this season. Hopefully Nick does not suffer the same problems with the car next year as he did this year.

    Personally, I hope to see four teams at roughly the same level: BMW, Ferrari, McLaren and Renault. That would be a wonderful championship in prospect if it were the case.

    Appreciate any feedback on these comments.

    Rob

  4. mark says:

    Great job you guys done with ITV, but the adverts where a terrible bore.

    Hope your all going to BBC?

    Mark

  5. speedmerchants says:

    To Jersey JH -
    Sorry no plans to cover GP2 Asia.
    JA

    To Rob H
    No, Sunday didn’t change my view re Massa. He’s done the same job there at Interlagos years running. He’s improved a lot and will probably continue to, but he’s not Hamilton or Alonso level. As for BMW, Heidfeld is a great team player and will always get impressive results so BMW are right to keep him, but I’d back Kubica every time, the data tells you the true story and he’s different class.
    JA

  6. Ace Best says:

    Speaking of 2009 James,there are several teams who have announced their 2009 drivers.Remembering your analysis that there are only a few good drivers available from junior series,do you think Honda will keep Barrichello now that they’ve failed to get Alonso?I hope they will,’cause I think Barrichello still got “it”.

  7. speedmerchants says:

    JA writes:
    It depends on how the test goes the week after next in Barcelona. Bruno Senna and Lucas di Grassi are trying out for the team and it’ll be interesting to see which of them is faster. There is quite a strong desire to see Senna in F1, but it will only work for him and for Honda if he’s fast enough. Honda will need a driver who a) puts pressure on Jenson Button in the other car and who b) can play a significant role on the technical side. I’m told by friends inside Renault that di Grassi is very bright and gives excellent technical feedback. But if he had proved quicker and better than Piquet he’d probably be in the second Renault race seat for 2009, so draw your own conclusions.

    Rubens drove very well, especially towards the end of the season, but you get the sense that Honda feel like a change.

  8. Alex says:

    I fancy Williams might surprise a few people at the start of 2009. Despite being an independent and the budgetary issues this presents, they did buy a specialist KERS company and this type of technical innnovation always brings out the best in Patrick Head. Further, development of the FW30 was pretty much non existent mid-season onwards.

  9. Ace Best says:

    First of all,sorry for the double post.It was an error. [ it was ours, and we've sorted it - admin ]

    From what I read from itv-f1.com,Di Grassi feels that Piquet gets his 2009 seat partialy because he has some good connection.Is that true?

    Yes,I reckon that the Honda team is very eager to get rid of Rubens and give the seat to a young gun.But if the options are slim,why take the risk?Especially with their big revolution plan for next year,I think Barrichello’s experience will help them a lot.

  10. Jeremy says:

    Hi James.

    I’ve been an avid F1 fan since I was 12 and can remember sitting with my father watching James hunt with his championship way back in 1976. Of course, Murray was commentating then and also when Damon won his Championship. Its was indeed a great end for you and ITV with Lewis Hamilton winning his first (I hope of many) F1 titles

    I will not miss the ad breaks in 2009 but I sincerely will miss your commentary, I have enjoyed your style that’s really complimented my Martin B’s expertise.

    I do hope we’ll be hearing from you in 2009, you have too much experience and knowledge just to disappear.

    Whatever you do, good luck and thank you.

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