Posted on June 30, 2009


The new Yas Marina Island circuit at Abu Dhabi is taking shape, ahead of its first Grand Prix on November 1st, the season finale. Today the organisers launched a video game which offers fans the chance to drive a virtual lap of the circuit. At Silverstone I sat down for a few minutes to chat with Richard Cregan, who is CEO of the project and responsible for bringing it in on time and to the highest F1 standards. We met in the new Ferrari motorhome, on the top floor. Aldar Properties, the company which is building the new track, has More…

Posted on June 29, 2009


In the parallel F1 world, away from FIA and FOTA, there have been a few interesting little developments lately. Donington got its planning permission, thanks to the resolution of the legal row between Simon Gillett and the landowners Wheatcroft and Son. Also the company which is selling the debentures, ISG, an offshoot of IMG, broke cover and commented for the first time in ages about Donington. It’s now a year since Gillett said that he would be announcing plans for a ‘fan powered debenture scheme’ to pay for the developments. In May this year he announced the plans. Debentures will More…

Posted on June 27, 2009


Ferrari and FOTA president Luca di Montezemolo has gone on the media offensive in the past 24 hours, putting out some messages, not in response to FIA president Max Mosley’s complaints about FOTA’s behaviour, but stating his own case. He calls for an end to ‘polemics’ in F1. There is no hint of apology in his statements, nor a response to Mosley’s claims that the breakaway could still be on. There is only a clear reaffirmation of the principles on which FOTA negotiated the deal on Wednesday. FOTA are very keen to show that they put the fans’ interests at More…

Posted on June 26, 2009


Max Mosley has fired off another letter to the members of the FIA World motor sport council, in the wake of negative comments from FOTA members over the deal struck on Wednesday. Mosley wrote to FOTA president Luca di Montezemolo yesterday demanding an apology for the ‘misleading’ statements he and other FOTA team bosses had made. No apology was made at the FOTA press conference, however Montezemolo did write back to Mosley yesterday saying that he had read Mosley’s comments with amazement and pointed out how his observations had been misunderstood. Montezemolo went on to reaffirm respect for all the More…

Posted on June 26, 2009


Okay, this is a bit left field but I like a bit of variety on the site so here is something completely different. In the old days, momentous events always used to be commemorated with poems and verse and it seems that the happenings of the last few weeks have inspired some of my readers to write poems. We’ve had several, but this one from Rudy Pyatt is actually pretty good so I thought, rather than let it sit in the comments section, it should get a more public airing. It is not exactly a call to arms for F1 More…

Posted on June 25, 2009


Looks like FOTA may have got the tone wrong with their triumphalism over the deal agreed on Wednesday to avert a breakaway in Formula 1. Max Mosley has reacted angrily to the tone of messages coming out of FOTA and about what he sees as misleading briefings to the media. Having cast his eye through the morning’s papers, some of which we reviewed here on JA on F1, he sent off an angry letter to FOTA prior to their meeting in Bologna, “Given your and FOTA’s deliberate attempt to mislead the media, I now consider my options open. At least More…

Posted on June 25, 2009


The FOTA teams met in Bologna today in triumphant mood to celebrate their success and look forward to shaping the F1 of the future. They are following the principles set out in the ‘Road Map’ they announced back in March; looking to reduce the costs dramatically, support the independent teams with cheap manufacturer engines and work with FIA and FOM to improve the show. The main points to come out today are that the rules for next season will be the same as this year, except that there will be no refuelling and KERS will be banned. There may be More…

Posted on June 25, 2009


News Digest by Lawrence Barretto It’s been 24 hours since yesterday’s landmark decision which saw all the FOTA teams agreeing in principle to the Concorde Agreement and ditching plans to leave the series. Now the debate has moved onto whether FIA President Max Mosley jumped or was pushed. While Mosley declared that he had always intended to step down as FIA President at the end of his term this October, it appears the media have seen it somewhat differently. “Mr Mosley had gone to Paris talking tough and making it clear that he might continue bossing one of the world’s More…

Posted on June 24, 2009


Speaking to the Italian media after today’s breakthrough agreement, FOTA and Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo took quite a strong line on the man sitting on the opposite side of the negotiating table from him these last few months, “The satisfaction is that all of our requests have been accepted, ” said Montezemolo. “To us three things were most important; that F1 stay F1 and not become F3, that there is no dictator, but that there was a choice of rules, agreed and not imposed; and that whoever had a team was consulted and had a voice. Mosley has announced More…

Posted on June 24, 2009


The FIA has issued the entry list for next season’s F1 world championship and it features all of the existing teams and the three new ones who entered last week. Meanwhile more details of the deal which saved F1, brokered by Luca di Montezemolo, Max Mosley and Bernie Ecclestone, are staring to emerge. The crucial points are that the rules for next year will be the same as 2009, costs will be brought right down, but there will be no budget cap and the teams and manufacturers have committed to the sport until at least 2012. The FIA emerges from More…

Posted on June 24, 2009


Formula 1 looked into the abyss, didn’t like what it saw and has has stepped away from the brink today as a deal has been struck for the FOTA teams to commit to race in F1, ending the threat of a breakaway. The commitment from the manufacturers and teams appears to be only until 2012, not it would appear the 2014 commitment that Bernie Ecclestone and Max Mosley were looking for from the manufacturers. Details are still to emerge of the deal and what is entailed, but early indications are that Mosley has agreed not to stand again for office More…

Posted on June 24, 2009


The world motor sport council meeting is underway in Paris, where the FIA president Max Mosley will defend his handling of the crisis over 2010 entries and FOTA president Luca di Montezemolo will present FOTA’s case for why the FIA needs to accept the conditions the teams have placed on their entries. There were eight world council members at Silverstone on Sunday, the FIA’s David Ward was taking them round and they are reported to have been unimpressed with what they see as FOTA, backed by the manufacturers, attempting to muscle the FIA out of the picture. Max Mosley emphasised More…

Posted on June 23, 2009


Things in the F1 breakaway world are intensifying as we count down to yet another potentially decisive moment, the FIA world motor sport council meeting tomorrow morning in Paris. Against a backdrop of eight of the current F1 teams wishing to break away and signs of a lack on confidence from some of the proposed new teams, everyone is waiting to see whether there will be some kind of attempt to oust FIA president Max Mosley, or indeed any kind of attempt by the WMSC to get the FOTA teams to re-engage. If nothing is forthcoming then FOTA’s preparations for More…

Posted on June 23, 2009


I have posted before about Jenson Button and his openness this season. Despite his reputation as a bit of a playboy, he is very serious about his racing and always has been. Now he’s at the sharp end and very focussed, he analyses situations very clearly and is good enough to share them with us in the media, on and off the record. After the British Grand Prix he did his usual media debrief and I have picked out a few comments which enhance our understanding of his situation and how the season is unfolding for him. Silverstone wasn’t a More…

Posted on June 22, 2009


The noises coming out of the FOTA teams on Sunday evening were quite resolute. They are not swayed by the latest suggestions from Max Mosley of fresh dialogue and are pressing ahead with preparations for a breakaway series. Currently Flavio Briatore is making the running on this, given his strong reputation as a wheeler dealer, he is being positioned as the ‘new Bernie’ in the FOTA set up. He has been in touch with several recent F1 circuits, sounding them out, preparing the ground. Several circuits are under the control of the teams anyway, like Fuji (Toyota) and Mugello (Ferrari). More…

Posted on June 21, 2009


Sebastian Vettel put in a peerless performance today to win the British Grand Prix, his second victory of the season and the third of his brief career. He turns 22 next week. Red Bull Racing have made a big improvement to their car, but there is no doubt that the circuit and the conditions played to their strengths and Brawn’s weaknesses. The Brawn drivers were struggling, relatively speaking, Button had a tougher time than Barrichello, but it was interesting that none of the other cars was fast enough to beat the Brawn to the podium. The question then is, will More…

Posted on June 21, 2009


FIA president Max Mosley said today that he was ready to start negotiations with FOTA to try to get F1 back on track after the teams opted to start a breakaway series. “We are talking to people all the time,” he told BBC’s F1 programme. “It will all be back to normal, it’s just a question of when. We are very close. What divides us and the teams is minimal and really is something we could sit down and iron out very quickly.” Mosley was very active with the media in the run up to the race. He was clarifying More…

Posted on June 21, 2009


There is a fantastic atmosphere here at Silverstone today, with over 100,000 people looking forward to a great day’s racing. We had 85,000 here on Friday, which is more than most Grands Prix get on raceday. Bernie Ecclestone’s comments yesterday that we will be back at Silverstone next year if Donington isn’t ready have been well received by the F1 fraternity and the public and it has given some reassurance in a weekend of instability. The weather is not as warm as predicted, it’s currently only 15 degrees, which is not going to help Jenson Button very much. He needs More…

Posted on June 20, 2009


A bit of light relief from Silverstone this evening. I was passing the Force India motorhome when I spied a crowd inside all cheering. On closer inspection I found team boss Vijay Mallya with three darts in his hands taking on Bobby George, twice runner up in the Darts World Championships. The pair were warming up because tonight Force India are hosting a darts evening for the media and guests. I would imagine that this is an evening on which Radio 5 Live commentator David Croft will come into his own as the ‘seven sausage a day’ Croft is an More…

Posted on June 20, 2009


The fuel weights have been published for the British Grand Prix and Sebastian Vettel is in even better shape than he looked after qualifying. The Red Bull has taken a huge step forward this weekend and Vettel took the pole with four laps more fuel in the car than Rubens Barrichello’s Brawn. Vettel will stop on lap 23. For once the luck was with him too, because his Red Bull team mate Mark Webber had set the fastest time after the first runs in qualifying, but hit traffic on his decisive lap in the form of Kimi Raikkonen, so the More…

Posted on June 20, 2009


Sebastian Vettel took his third pole position of the 2009 season today with a stunning lap on his final qualifying run at Silverstone. He and Red Bull team mate Mark Webber had been trading fastest laps all weekend, indicating that the Red Bull is now clearly the fastest car in F1. What is impressive about the latest round of developments on this car is that it is now clearly faster in the high speed corners, but also in the low speed corners, like the complex here in Silverstone. Brawn did a good job in Turkey of improving their car in More…

Posted on June 19, 2009


The row between the FIA and FOTA entered a new phase this afternoon as the FIA put out a statement saying that they were preparing legal action, “The FIA’s lawyers have now examined the FOTA threat to begin a breakaway series. The actions of FOTA as a whole, and Ferrari in particular, amount to serious violations of law including wilful interference with contractual relations, direct breaches of Ferrari’s legal obligations and a grave violation of competition law. The FIA will be issuing legal proceedings without delay. “Preparations for the 2010 FIA Formula One World Championship continue but publication of the More…

Posted on June 19, 2009


There is a lot of activity going on at Silverstone, following the announcement by FOTA that they are commencing preparations for a breakaway series. No-one on the FOTA side is saying how much preparation has already been done, but I gather that one of the team principals has been on the phone to several tracks which have recently hosted F1 events and are no longer hosting events, like Indianapolis, Montreal, Silverstone. Ferrari owns Mugello, while Imola is ready to host these cars again after a major refurbishment. The teams seem to feel that the logistics of putting a new series More…

Posted on June 19, 2009


Max Mosley arrived in the Silverstone paddock midway through this morning’s free practice session and went straight into Bernie Ecclestone’s motor home. The announcement by FOTA of a breakaway series is no surprise to him, indeed he will have been expecting this. He has a huge appetite for this fight and he knows what a huge undertaking it would be to start a new racing series. The FIA put out a brief reaction earlier today as follows: “The FIA is disappointed but not surprised by FOTA’s inability to reach a compromise in the best interests of the sport. It is More…

Posted on June 19, 2009


“If you are going to bark, you need to be prepared to bite.” This is what a member of one of the FOTA teams said to me yesterday afternoon, with respect to the threat of leaving Formula 1 and forming a breakaway series. Shortly after midnight FOTA made the announcement that many had feared was coming and which takes the sport into unchartered waters. The teams met at the Renault HQ near Oxford prior to making their announcement. They will have done so with a heavy heart but had to do it, really. It was put up or shut up More…

Posted on June 18, 2009


Hi James, Got this message today from one of my readers, Charlie. Put a smile on my face and hope it will do for you too. “James, Do you remember me taking your advice and putting £20 on Brawn to win the Championship? at 15-1? well I got this email from Paddypower this morning: …..With the British Grand Prix around the corner and Jenson Button and the Brawn team still thrashing allcomers, we’ve decided to accept reality and settle all bets on Jenson Button to win the World Drivers Championship and Brawn to win the World Constructors Championship as winners! More…

Posted on June 18, 2009


I want to write about something other than the FIA/FOTA war today. There will be plenty of that tomorrow. It has been well reported that Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button have exchanged fortunes from last season to this. Button has gone from the back of the grid to the front and Lewis the opposite way. But there is a common factor in the success of both men and that is the Mercedes engine, which is made in Brixworth, about 20 minutes from Silverstone. Button visited the staff yesterday to say thank you for giving him an engine which has won More…

Posted on June 18, 2009


A tense day ahead at Silverstone for everybody. The teams have proposed that the deadline be moved back to July 1st to allow more time for discussion but that was rebuffed by FIA president Max Mosley yesterday. The FOTA teams sent a letter to Mosley with suggestions for a compromise to the issue of budget caps, and the method of financial control, “We detect… that a solution might be possible based on the FOTA resource restriction proposal but with measures introduced,” the letter said. “We would propose in this respect that we nominate a top firm of independent accountants who More…

Posted on June 17, 2009


It was Alfa Romeo who won the first ever F1 Grand Prix at Silverstone, Ferrari won the second. Will Sunday see the Scuderia claim victory in the final race there? Never say never, but they were not as competitive in Turkey as many had imagined they would be. However for Silverstone they have some upgrades for the car which were tested in a straight line aerodynamic test on Monday by Felipe Massa. The Brazilian was driving a new chassis, which has a lower centre of gravity and is slightly lighter than the previous one, like the chassis Raikkonen has been More…

Posted on June 17, 2009


There is a very exciting new piece of technology on the market for F1 fans. Soft Pauer, a company set up by former Honda F1 executive Otmar Szafnauer has launched the official Formula One Timing and Track Positioning Application for Apple iPhone OS 3.0. The application allows fans to track the progress of all the cars in real time on a dynamic track map. So when a car is losing time in the race, for example, you can see the icons of the other cars all bunching up behind it. The data is taken directly from the official timing feeds More…

Posted on June 16, 2009


I have a feeling that the end is in sight in the battle between the FIA and FOTA. I’ve spent the day on the phone to many of the interested parties and read the statements issued by the FIA. It looks like Friday will be put-up or shut-up day. The first statement this morning was about the negotiations over how budget restrictions are controlled and this stated that the negotiations were now over, the budget cap stays. Later on the FIA put out a long document recounting the history, as they see it, of this process and of FOTA’s conduct More…

Posted on June 16, 2009


Another day, another statement. This one, from the FIA, again suggesting that the wheels are coming off the negotiating process between the FIA and the team’s body (FOTA) and that it is FOTA’s fault. As I posted yesterday in the Ross Brawn story, the teams want to talk about ‘resource restriction’ which they control, rather than ‘budget caps’, which an outside agency controls on behalf of the FIA. The teams feel that it is a fundamental right of a competitor to manage its own business autonomously. They are also concerned about how it would work if there was a disciplinary More…

Posted on June 15, 2009


Ross Brawn took part in a teleconference today ahead of the weekend’s British Grand Prix. It’s been a stunning first half of the season for Brawn, with six wins from seven races and 16 trophies in the cabinet. Jenson Button is on target to win the world championship. If things carry on as they have so far, then Jenson could be in a position to clinch the title in Japan. Many people, including Ross, thought that Red Bull in particular would be hard to contain in Turkey and he was delighted with the way his team attacked the main weakness More…

Posted on June 15, 2009


We are currently waiting for the FOTA dossier, which was promised last week, detailing all the ways in which F1 is going wrong under the current FIA administration. It now sounds like we might get two dossiers, the other from the FIA itself detailing its dealings with FOTA and what it describes as ‘hardliners’, looking to scupper the process. It’s strange because you hear from both sides that there is a detailed process of meetings going on behind the scenes and yet above the surface the mudslinging is in full flow. The FIA issued a statement on Monday morning saying More…

Posted on June 14, 2009


I was lucky enough to be at Silverstone last Wednesday, to spend the day with McLaren, driving the 650 bhp Mercedes SLR and being driven in it by the reigning world champion. This was part of the Lewis Hamilton British media rehabilitation exercise, particularly targetted at the Fleet Street guys after things got a bit out of control post the Melbourne-lying-to-stewards business. Hamilton got pretty wound up by some of the coverage and initially tried a route of non co-operation, but then recently the team has changed tack and this day at Silverstone was a way of hitting the reset More…

Posted on June 14, 2009


There is a story in the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera today about a letter sent by the FOTA teams yesterday (Saturday 13th June) to the FIA complaining about the behaviour of the FIA’s Alan Donnelly at the recent Turkish Grand Prix. The letter alleges that Donnelly was going around from team to team telling them to abandon the FOTA stance and sign up for 2010. It amounted to behaviour which the teams considered not appropriate for a man whose role at the races is to convene and oversee the stewards and to take a totally impartial view of problems More…

Posted on June 13, 2009


Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo made a high-profile visit to the Le Mans 24 hours today and was the official starter of the event. His visit had been planned for some time and was highly symbolic; the Le Mans 24 hours is not sanctioned by the FIA and with the fall out over Formula 1 entries for 2010 Montezemolo was keen to show that there is life beyond the current set up in F1. FOTA has made it clear in the last 24 hours that it wants to see reform of the way in the FIA is run and is More…

Posted on June 12, 2009


It’s been an intense day of statements and announcements. In all cases reading between the lines has been necessary. After the FIA’s announcement of the entries for 2010 this morning came Ferrari’s swift, calm but strong reaction, then FOTA’s threat to issue a dossier listing all the things that are wrong with the way F1 is run. FOTA sources refuse to say on what day this dossier will be issued. The day ended with the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) suggesting, again between the lines, that not only would it apply pressure on the FIA to look at the conduct More…

Posted on June 12, 2009


A ping on the inbox on this most extraordinary of afternoons and a statement from FOTA appears. This one is interesting because it suggests that they plan ‘regrettably’ to publish a dossier of reasons why the current FIA plans for Formula 1 are bad for the sport, in their opinion and why the whole thing is proving a turn-off for fans. “In response to the erroneous statement made today by FIA, the Formula One Teams Association (FOTA) wishes to underline that the entries of all its members – excluding the temporarily suspended Force India and Williams – have been submitted More…

Posted on June 12, 2009


“With the financial reforms to lower the barrier to entry to realistic levels it is good to see such a strong market for new teams, ” said the FIA this afternoon in a second official statement, following on from the announcement that F1 will have three new teams on the grid next season. “This exercise has demonstrated that the only reason there have been vacancies on the F1 grid for many years was the excessive cost of participation. ” This is what the FIA has maintained all along was it’s main motivation for introducing dramatic cost reductions and even the More…

Posted on June 12, 2009


The entry list for 2010 published today has aroused a reaction of disappointment and defiance from Ferrari. The Scuderia issued a strongly worded statement soon after the FIA announcement. This indicates that they knew what was coming. “Ferrari shall not take part in the 2010 FIA Formula One World Championship until the conditions of its entry are satisfied,” said the opening line. It went on, “Ferrari submitted on 29 May 2009 an entry to the 2010 FIA Formula One World Championship which is subject to certain conditions. As of today, these conditions have not been met. “Despite Ferrari’s previous written More…

Posted on June 12, 2009


After all the talk, the speculation and the drama, the FIA published the 2010 entry list shortly after 10am today. The key point is that the FIA has gone ahead and listed all five of the teams who signed up in 2005 as unconditionally entered into the world championship, including Ferrari, which it has placed top of the list. This is likely to provoke a strong reaction from Italy, after comments from team boss Stefano Domenicali earlier this week. Williams and Force India had already entered, but the two Red Bull teams join Ferrari on the list despite being part More…

Posted on June 12, 2009


Little more than an hour to go, as I write this, before the entry list is published for the 2010 F1 world championship. It has been described as being one of the most momentous days in F1 history by some and as an imminent armageddon by others. But I think all parties are aware that there is a bigger picture here. F1 is a business that is attempting to change its model, but is undergoing a crisis about how to achieve that. The timetable for this has been set by the FIA, who made the deadlines. The eight teams from More…

Posted on June 11, 2009


There are two contrasting quotes in the press today. The first comes from Bernie Ecclestone, highlighting what he brings to F1 and why it is the show that it is, while the president of Renault, Carlos Ghosn, has come out and said that the teams should, “take back control of Formula 1″ Bernie was speaking to the Daily Express and said, “It costs a lot of money to set up a series. “Right now, we supply the venues at no cost to the teams, they roll up with all their sponsors’ names and money and race in front of a More…

Posted on June 11, 2009


Before the Turkey weekend I flagged up that I was interested in Toyota’s performance after their alarming slump in Monaco and to some extent, Spain. Well Jarno Trulli had a great weekend, qualifying 5th and racing strongly against Nico Rosberg to finish fourth. Toyota are looking pretty good in third place in the championship, although you can see them possibly dropping one place to fourth when Ferrari get motoring in the second half of the season. What was hugely encouraging for Toyota in Istanbul, though, was that they kept the Ferraris behind them all weekend, despite the massive gains the More…

Posted on June 10, 2009


Details of the 2009 motorsport business forums have been announced. There will be three events this year, the traditional event in Monaco in December, the Middle East event in the days before the Abu Dhabi GP in October and a US event in Orlando in December. The forums have evolved over the past five years into the leading event for discussion and debate on the major issues around the world of motorsport business. The wide ranging programme covers every area of commercial activity in the sport from sponsorship acquisition and exploitation to championship management. I have been asked to host More…

Posted on June 10, 2009


Two days to go until the entries are announced for the 2010 F1 world championship and the situation is finely balanced. The FIA has said that there is ‘no question’ of the Concorde Agreement being signed by Friday and Max Mosley has urged the FOTA teams to make their entries unconditional (there are strings attached currently) in order to change the system from within. The idea would be that once they had all signed up to be budget capped next year, they could then agree a new set of rules which was more in line with FOTA’s suggestions. But it More…

Posted on June 9, 2009


Toyota, the world’s largest car company, has become the first team to start selling real parts of its F1 cars online. A complete rear wing is €2,000 a plain front wing a snip at €800. Apparently the parts have all been used at some time on the F1 cars either in racing or testing and come with a certificate of authenticity. The parts are on sale on Toyota’s official website at http://www.toyota-f1-shop.com If things don’t get resolved in the next few days between the teams and the FIA over next year’s championship then there could a lot more of this More…

Posted on June 8, 2009


Following on from my earlier post, Frank Williams said some very interesting things on Saturday afternoon, so here they are in more detail. He covers the current 2010 entry crisis, explains Max Mosley’s motivation, looks at the problem of engine supply if there is a split and talks about possibly housing one of the new teams on his site. What is the situation with FOTA, you are suspended, will you go back? “We are out of FOTA, expelled. Normally when you are expelled, you don’t go back to school or not that one, anyway. In or out, that’s fine. If More…

Posted on June 8, 2009


“Williams needs a budget cap. Hopefully it will bring the others down to us.” This was the view of Sir Frank Williams on Saturday afternoon, discussing the ongoing crisis over the 2010 rules. Frank has signed up for the FIA championship next season. After years of almost bankrupting itself to stay competitive in F1, the Williams team welcomes the budget cap as an opportunity to take a financial breather, make the team profitable again and shape it up for a possible sale down the line. Frank is also attracted by the idea of housing one of the new teams on More…

Posted on June 7, 2009


The drivers working for the eight remaining FOTA teams got embroiled in the 2010 entry crisis today when they met with team principals and agreed to stand solid with them in opposing the 2010 rules package. Afterwards, rumours began to circulate that a repeat of Indianapolis 2005 might take place where the drivers would do the formation lap only and then park the cars, leaving only the Williams and Force India cars to race. Much as Nico Rosberg, looking for his first win and Vijay Mallya, looking for Force India’s first points, would have loved it, there was no substance More…

Posted on June 7, 2009


Jenson Button won the Turkish Grand Prix today, by 6.7 seconds over the Red Bull duo of Mark Webber and pole sitter Sebastian Vettel. It was Button’s sixth win from seven starts and sets him up now for the world championship and an emotional homecoming to Silverstone in two weeks time. “You have built me a monster of a car,” he told the team over the radio afterwards. He later added, “The car felt the best it has felt all year.” It was a dominant performance by Button, who started second on the grid, but passed Vettel on the opening More…

Posted on June 7, 2009


Formula 3 team Litespeed has announced that it’s F1 team name, if it’s 2010 entry is accepted by the FIA this week, will be Lotus. Last week we had a team using the Brabham name and there are rumours that March is going to be recycled. If it carries on like this we’re all going to have to start growing mutton chop sideburns again. Litespeed is owned by two ex Lotus engineers and they have persuaded David Hunt, who owns the rights to the name, to let them use it. Lotus won the world championship with Jim Clark, Graham Hill, More…

Posted on June 6, 2009


The fuel loads have been published by the FIA and, as expected the Red Bull of Sebastian Vettel is a shade lighter than Jenson Button’s Brawn. Vettel will stop on lap 15, two laps before Button. Button has the tactical advantage for the race because his team will be able to watch what Vettel does at his first stop and will then have around 2 minutes to calculate what strategy to employ for Button at his first stop to give him the best chance of winning the race. Button will have to watch out for Webber, who is on the More…

Posted on June 6, 2009


Sebastian Vettel was fastest in all three qualifying sessions today at Istanbul and picked up his second pole position of the season for Red Bull. Pole position changed hands three times in the final moments of a terrific session. First Mark Webber grabbed it, then Jenson Button went faster, but Vettel got the lap which mattered. Jenson Button again had a quiet build up, with various set up issues to be resolved in practice, but delievered a big lap at the end to start alongside Vettel on the front row. But the early indications are that the Brawn may have More…

Posted on June 6, 2009


We’ve had a great response to the post about what the teams mean to F1, some great thoughts. Picking up on Max Mosley’s analogy of F1 as being like a restaurant we had this very well considered contribution from Bradley, “The restaurant at Le Mans is open for 24 Hours and remains great, no matter who the diners are. “Ferrari ate there for a while and left, so did Mercedes, BMW, Toyota and others, then they left too. And the race stayed great. “I’d suggest that, as long as there are diners coming to the restaurant, it doesn’t matter who More…

Posted on June 6, 2009


I wrote a piece on the ITV F1 website yesterday looking at the prospects for the FOTA teams to start their own breakaway series, which they are being encouraged to do by FIA president Max Mosley. I mentioned that Max always makes the point that the FIA owns F1 and if teams don’t like it they can go and race elsewhere. The teams of course believe that they are the show. Mosley compares the role of teams in F1 to patrons in a restaurant; they may eat there every day and spend a great deal of money doing so, but More…

Posted on June 5, 2009


It has been a see-saw saga and it’s not over yet, but the chances of Donington hosting the British Grand Prix Prix next year received a positive boost today when it was announced that the legal dispute between the promoter, Simon Gillett and the landowners, Wheatcroft and Son, was resolved. This dispute threatened to wreck the planning application without which the event would be a non-starter. A statement posted on Donington’s website reads as follows: “Wheatcroft and Son Limited, and circuit leaseholder, Donington Ventures Leisure Limited (DVLL), confirmed that they have reached an agreement which they hope will move a More…

Posted on June 5, 2009


There have been some interesting suggestions in your comments as to the line up we may see on the grid next year, some of you clearly have some time on your hands to theorise and put drivers in cars. I’m not going to do that, but I am going to think about what the F1 grid might look like in terms of teams next year and take a snapshot of where we are with this delicate situation. The starting point is the teams who are legally obliged to take part next year. Williams acknowledges that it is one and Force More…

Posted on June 5, 2009


McLaren may have topped the times this afternoon in Istanbul, but Ross Brawn, who has been quite vocal in the run up to this weekend’s race, told La Gazzetta dello Sport that he thinks the steps Ferrari has brought to its car will be enough for them to give Brawn a real run for their money this weekend, “I think so, ” he said. “They have improved so much and on top of that they have KERS, which on this track is probably worth an advantage of 2 to 3 tenths of a second. It took them a while to More…

Posted on June 4, 2009


Jenson Button sat down with the media this afternoon and as usual gave a well-considered analysis of where he stands relative to the opposition. Jenson is clearly thinking a lot about all aspects of the rival teams, as is normal, but what is good is that he is prepared to share his thoughts with the media in a considered way. “I think that the Red Bulls should work quite well here,” he said. “The car that they had in Barcelona, if they brought that here they would be competitive. We’ll have to see if their diffuser makes a difference on More…

Posted on June 4, 2009


I’m very grateful to readers for all their interesting comments. We have a very high level of debate going on here. We’ve had 86 comments already on the FOTA story and plenty on the new teams story as well. It seems to be really energising people and getting them thinking. There seems to be a really interesting divide between people who cannot imagine F1 changing from what it is now with the teams we have now and people, perhaps with longer memories, who kind of hanker after the uncomplicated, bare knuckle F1 of the old days, which may or ay More…

Posted on June 4, 2009


I’ve just been sent a press release from a German company, which owns the remnants of the Super Aguri team and also the Brabham brand. They have announced that they have entered next year’s world championship as Brabham. This is a very strong deja vu for me. I started my professional career in Formula 1 in 1990 with the Brabham team. I was the team’s press officer for two seasons. Our drivers in 1990 were David Brabham and Stefano Modena, the team principal was Herbie Blash (now on the FIA race direction team with Charlie Whiting) and it was owned More…

Posted on June 3, 2009


FIA president Max Mosley has broken his silence on the conditional entry the nine FOTA teams made last Friday to the 2010 world championship. Speaking to Swiss paper Motorsport Aktuell, Mosley made it quite clear that he is not going to entertain FOTA’s demands that the budget cap idea be abandoned, that the 2009 rules be carried over for next year and that the new Concorde Agreement be signed by June 12th, the date on which the successful entries will be announced. “You cannot sign an agreement which was specified so late, before June 12th.” he said. Clearly not willing More…

Posted on June 3, 2009


This weekend’s Turkish Grand Prix in Istanbul should see the convergence of several teams at the top, making it a fiercely contested race. Let me explain what I mean by that. Brawn has been at the peak since the season started, the team to beat, while Red Bull were very close in the early races, but only added their definitive double diffuser aero package to the car for Monaco, where it didn’t really have a chance to show it’s value. Their car has always been good on high speed corners, so in Istanbul they should fly. They have had the More…

Posted on June 3, 2009


I posted yesterday on Toyota and how they appear to have been going backwards in the last two races, wondering what they would be like in Turkey this weekend. In my mail box this morning is a Q&A with Toyota boss John Howett explaining a little more about what’s gone wrong and what their chances are for Istanbul. So I thought I would run an excerpt from it, to round out the picture. What are the team’s chances for the Turkish Grand Prix? “I believe we have a very good chance in Turkey. We are third in the Constructors’ Championship More…

Posted on June 2, 2009


One of the teams I will be keeping a very close eye on this weekend is Toyota. When I went to the pre-season test at Barcelona, Toyota was one of the teams you would say was in the best shape. Jarno Trulli could barely contain his delight that he had what appeared to be a very good car, after several frustrating years. And so it proved in the first four races, where the team averaged 6.6 points per race, putting them a strong third in the championship. But since then they have really struggled and have blanked twice, in Spain More…



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