Posted on August 31, 2009


It’s rare in Formula 1 that a team gets to enjoy a moment of pure ecstasy, without something coming along to spoil it. And so it is proving for Force India, which scored a magnificent podium from pole position in yesterday’s Belgian Grand Prix, but today is having a very public internal argument about whether its podium hero Giancarlo Fisichella is moving to Ferrari for the next race. Fisichella was faster than Kimi Raikkonen in yesterday’s race and it was only because of the KERS on the Ferrari that the race swung away from him. The team could still have More…

Posted on August 30, 2009


Ferrari super-sub Luca Badoer crawled in last today for the second race in a row at the Belgian Grand Prix, 102 seconds behind his team mate and the winner of the race, Kimi Raikkonen. But afterwards he spoke of his plans for the next race at Monza, where he believes he will put in a truly competitive showing. It was a day when the importance of having both cars scoring points was underlined again. Ferrari was able to open up a 12 point lead over McLaren in their intense fight for third place in the championship. This battle is set More…

Posted on August 30, 2009


Today we got word that the FIA is going to open an enquiry into the events of the Singapore Grand Prix last season, when Nelson Piquet crashed, bringing out a safety car at precisely the right moment for his team mate Fernando Alonso to take advantage and go on to win the race. The implication is that Piquet’s accident was deliberately caused in order to affect the result, which would be a contravention of the team orders rule as well as of several sporting and safety rules. Renault are feeling the long arm of the law in the shape of More…

Posted on August 30, 2009


Kimi Raikkonen won the Belgian Grand Prix today, for the fourth time in his career, beating pole sitter Giancarlo Fisichella into second place. The pair were never more than 1.1 seconds apart at any stage in a thrilling race, which turned on the restart on lap 5 after a safety car for first lap carnage. Fisichella led through La Source but Raikkonen was able to pass him on the straight after Eau Rouge using his KERS power boost button to take a lead he would never lose. They both pitted together at each of their stops, but if Fisichella had More…

Posted on August 29, 2009


Today was nothing short of extraordinary, with Giancarlo Fisichella taking the pole for Force India ahead of Jarno Trulli and Nick Heidfeld and tomorrow should be a really exciting Grand Prix. A lot is likely to change from the top ten we have on the grid and any one of three or four drivers could win the race. The pace of Fisi and the BMWs in particular caught out the Red Bull team who were competitive in Q2, especially with Sebastian Vettel and so went for the slightly higher fuel load in Q3, as part of their standard tactic of More…

Posted on August 29, 2009


Today was a completely extraordinary qualifying session with many of the biggest names in F1 failing to make the cut for the top ten shootout and Giancarlo Fisichella giving Force India, F1′s lowest budget team, it’s first pole position. Fisi acknowledged that perhaps the rabbit he hit in the morning session, which broke his front wing, may have brought him luck! Jarno Trulli was second with BMW’s Nick Heidfeld third. Of the the main title rivals, Rubens Barrichello is the best placed in fourth place, while his team mate and title leader Jenson Button was only 14th. It was a More…

Posted on August 29, 2009


Donington appears on the draft F1 calendar for 2010 on July 11th as the home of the British Grand Prix, but the next hurdle it has to overcome next month is to prove to F1′s commercial rights holder, Bernie Ecclestone, that it has the funding to run the race. Recycling a quote from a couple of months ago, I’ll remind you of what Bernie said about Donington to Bob McKenzie of the Daily Express, “They have got until the end of September to produce a bank guarantee and their contract depends on that. If they don’t, it’s adios amigos.” “I’m More…

Posted on August 29, 2009


Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali says in today’s Times that the team would like to run a third car next season for seven times world champion Michael Schumacher, provided he is able to fully recover from his neck injury. “Going back to Michael, it is correct to say that, if everything is fine, why not see him in one of our cars?” said Domenicali. “It is true that we are pushing [for three cars]. We feel that it is for the benefit of Formula One and it is better to make sure that the biggest teams have three cars because More…

Posted on August 28, 2009


There is a draft 2010 calendar doing the rounds this weekend. It’s an 18 race calendar and it starts with Bahrain because Australia needs to be scheduled for a date after the clocks go forward to shorten up the time difference and make the race time in Europe later. Turkey will be chilly in April, I’m ecstatic to see Montreal back as it is a great venue, a wonderful city and one of the best supported races of the year with a huge, knowledgeable crowd all three days. Valencia moves to June, when it will be cooler (thank Heavens!), The More…

Posted on August 28, 2009


Episode two of one of Formula 1′s most bizarre soap operas takes place this weekend as Luca Badoer attempts to show the bosses at Ferrari that he has the right stuff to remain a Ferrari race driver for the rest of the season, or until Felipe Massa is fit to return. Today he finished 20th and last again, some two seconds off the pace and this time Ferrari didn’t wrap him up in cotton wool to the same extent as in Valencia when it came to writing their press release. This is the opening sentence; “Once again, Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro More…

Posted on August 28, 2009


Bernie Ecclestone announced today that the season finale at the new Yas Marina Island circuit will be F1′s first ever day/night race, starting at twilight and ending in the dark. This seems to me like a really good idea and I must say that when I came away from Singapore last year I felt that this was what they should have done there. The reason is that with a full night race, on TV you get no sense of the surrounding space. Singapore track was surrounded by water, for example, but you had no idea of that from the TV More…

Posted on August 28, 2009


Lewis Hamilton set the fastest time in the second Friday practice session for Sunday’s Belgian Grand Prix. The world champion was not expecting to be a front runner this weekend as the McLaren has had a weakness all season on high speed corners, of which there are several here. Timo Glock was second, with Toyota looking more competitive than they have for a while, ahead of Kimi Raikkonen and Mark Webber. Romain Grosjean did a strong job to end the session fifth in the Renault. Jaime Alguersuari, who set the 9th fastest time, pulled off the track in the closing More…

Posted on August 28, 2009


Jenson Button lost his cool yesterday with the man from the Times, Ed Gorman, when he suggested that in the eyes of some, Button didn’t actually want to win the world championship. “I don’t think people are saying that seriously. Who could possibly say that?” said an incredulous Button. Button has made heavy going of shutting out this world title lately, especially in Valencia where he failed to turn a winning car into a winning result. He made a mistake in qualifying and then got boxed in at the start, dropping from 5th to 9th on the opening lap. This More…

Posted on August 28, 2009


Giancarlo Fisichella was at the centre of attention yesterday afternoon in the Spa paddock, being photographed and interviewed left right and centre. This is because the odds are shortening all the time on him driving a Ferrari in the Italian Grand Prix next month and for the remaining races until Felipe Massa comes back. Exactly when that might be will become clearer this weekend as Massa will get a definitive opinion from racing medical guru Steve Olvey in Florida. By Monday the Ferrari team will know if Massa will race again this season. Then they can assess Luca Badoer’s performance More…

Posted on August 27, 2009


This afternoon I sat down, along with various press colleagues, with Fernando Alonso, Robert Kubica and Nico Rosberg and all three gave very interesting insights into their thought processes at this important time in the driver market. It’s quite possible that all three drivers will move teams for next year. Widespread rumour since last Christmas has Alonso going to Ferrari (either next year or 2011), Kubica has a choice of Williams, Renault and Toyota, Rosberg will probably either stay put or move to McLaren Mercedes. This stage of the season is all about trying to unpick the lock, to figure More…

Posted on August 27, 2009


Just arrived at Spa after a 6-55am BA flight from Heathrow. Ross Brawn and some of his senior engineers were on it as well as some of the photographers. Then the 90 minute drive from Brussels to Spa, which is about half an hour south of the city of Liege. Amazingly it’s a beautiful day here. I’ve been coming to Spa for the Grand Prix for 20 years and I can count on my fingers the number of times I’ve seen a hot sunny day here. Let’s hope it lasts. The forecast is for it to stay sunny or partly More…

Posted on August 26, 2009


Bruno Senna has been in Abu Dhabi for the last two days, driving the new Yas Marina Circuit and meeting the people there. Senna says he is more hopeful of getting an F1 seat next year as there are more opportunities than there were this year. With just over two months to go until the inaugural Grand Prix in Abu Dhabi, Senna was able to drive the track in a 4×4 road car and get an impression of what kind of track it is and which of the current F1 teams it will favour, bearing in mind that the season More…

Posted on August 25, 2009


The efforts of the BRDC board to attract serious investment from outside sources to shore up the future of Silverstone took a step forward today when the members voted to allow the board to entertain offers. It has been rumoured that investors from the Gulf are interested in buying in. This should not be confused with a sale, as Silverstone is ring fenced as an asset from sale, a move made several years ago when it was under threat from various sides. The BRDC board can now go out and find investment partners willing to put capital into infrastructure projects More…

Posted on August 25, 2009


Ferrari president Luca Montezemolo chaired a meeting yesterday at Maranello at which it was confirmed that Luca Badoer would be given the opportunity to have a second race in the Ferrari. But, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport, he has been told that unless he does something pretty special, he may well be replaced for the following race at Monza. The range of alternatives has not really changed much, which is to say that there aren’t really any. So it would be interesting to see what they would do if Badoer remained a long way off the pace of Raikkonen. More…

Posted on August 25, 2009


Over the weekend I heard that the Brawn team had signed a new sponsor for 2010 and had some off the record chats about it with some of the people there. Today I see that the story is in the open as Autosport has got Nick Fry to talk on the record about it, “We’ve signed some nice contracts, and those will come out into the open when we launch the car next year, but we will see what happens. There is zero worry on our side,” he said. Brawn has had a great year by anyone’s standards and look More…

Posted on August 25, 2009


Jenson Button had another low key weekend in Valencia, his fourth in a row. It’s not the end of the world, championships are won by keeping the scoreboard ticking over and Button has scored in every race. But unlike the previous races, Valencia was a race where the Brawn car was the fastest – for time really since Monaco – and this meant a chance to take a much needed win or podium to release some of the pressure which has been building on him. Instead Rubens Barrichello was the faster car all weekend, qualified well on a high fuel More…

Posted on August 24, 2009


Ferrari’s official website has a nice story today about Felipe Massa contacting his friend and fellow Brazilian Rubens Barrichello after his emotional win in Sunday’s Grand Prix in Valencia. Massa replaced Barrichello at Ferrari in 2006 and the older man carried a get well message to Massa on his crash helmet all weekend and after the race dedicated the win to him. Although it was not in any way Barrichello’s fault the spring which hit Massa in the head in Budapest fell from the rear suspension of Rubens’ car. He said over the weekend that he feels no responsibility for More…

Posted on August 24, 2009


Stefano Domenicali has had a few character building weekends since he took over as boss of Gestione Sportiva, otherwise known as the Ferrari Formula 1 team. But this past weekend with the requirement to make something of 38 year old Luca Badoer, who had not raced for 10 years, must rank high on his list of challenges. It was an unconvincing performance by Badoer to say the least and afterwards Domenicali left the door ajar for a rethink on the plan that Badoer will drive until Massa returns. He also acknowledged that Ferrari needs a young driver programme and said More…

Posted on August 23, 2009


McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh said after the race that the slow second pit stop of Lewis Hamilton did not cause him to lose the race, he believes that he was going to lose it anyway. Hamilton approached the pits on lap 37, while leading the race. At that stage Rubens Barrichello had closed up to be just 3.6 seconds behind him. He had four to five more laps of fuel in the car at the time and the general rule is that you need about one second lead for each extra lap your opponent is doing. It’s probably true that More…

Posted on August 23, 2009


Rubens Barrichello won the European Grand Prix at Valencia, putting to an end a five year winless streak. A year ago it was being suggested that his career might be over, but he triumphed in style at Valencia with a determined, consistent performance. It was the 100th win for a Brazilian driver in F1 and it brought him to second place, 18 points behind Jenson Button, who was seventh today, in the world championship. When he drove down the pit lane to parc ferme most of the teams came out of their garages to applaud him, a sight rarely seen More…

Posted on August 23, 2009


It’s 8-30am, I’ve just arrived at the track, travelling through empty streets, the city still coming to life. The track is down the end of the main avenue which leads to the docks. There are boats in the marina, including two super yachts owned by McLaren’s Mansour Ojjeh and Force India’s Vijay Mallya. They are trying but this place is still more Tilbury Docks than Monaco. There haven’t been many people here all weekend, the crowds in the stands have been sparse, not Turkey levels, but still pretty low. The recession is blamed for the low attendance and also the More…

Posted on August 22, 2009


I went to dinner at Bridegstone this evening with some of my colleagues from the UK and Irish media. We got talking about the race ahead and it struck me that Heikki Kovalainen is in an awkward position tomorrow in the race, so I thought I’d come back here to the press office and share it with you. The way I see it, Heikki has been under some pressure from the McLaren management lately, with team boss Martin Whitmarsh saying on Friday during practice that, “He’s done some great qualifying, but we know and he knows that he has got More…

Posted on August 22, 2009


Pity poor Luca Badoer; he pounds around test tracks at the wheel of championship winning Ferraris for years, dreaming of his chance to race one of the blood red cars in a Grand Prix. When the call comes from President Montezemolo he has ‘no choice’ in his words but to accept and travel to Valencia, to a track he does not know, to qualify and race a car for the first time in ten years when he hasn’t been able to test. The dream turns into a nightmare. In third practice, the last one before qualifying, he was just under More…

Posted on August 22, 2009


Lewis Hamilton took his first pole position of the season and the 14th of his career at Valencia today, beating his McLaren Mercedes team mate Heikki Kovalainen into second place. Rubens Barrichello was third for Brawn GP. Sebastian Vettel was fourth with Jenson Button fifth. The other title contender, Mark Webber was down in 9th place. Hamilton tacked the session with great confidence, doing only one run and saving a set of tyres in the second part of qualifying. He said afterwards that it has been a long time since he had the car to do this. But he was More…

Posted on August 21, 2009


I went from the Kimi Raikkonen press briefing this afternoon to the Fernando Alonso one and there was an interesting little cameo which came to light. There were some quotes yesterday from Luca Badoer saying that he had no help from Kimi Raikkonen, but Badoer said sportingly that this was “Kimi’s character.” This was interesting when taken in conjunction with the quotes from Felipe Massa to the effect that he had not had any kind of get well message from Raikkonen. Perhaps mindful of this, when he was asked whether he had helped Badoer, who struggled today, Raikkonen said “No More…

Posted on August 21, 2009


The Red Bull team has a lot of work to do if it is to challenge for the win here this weekend, according to Mark Webber. The Aussie who lies second in the world championship, 18.5 points behind Jenson Button, says that the team expected Valencia to suit their car less well than other tracks coming up, like Spa, but nevertheless he is concerned by the difference in lap times with the Brawns in particular, “We’ve got a bit of work to do tonight,” he said. “We are not at our normal level at the moment. Seems to be [that More…

Posted on August 21, 2009


Another day, another confident, proactive statement from Jean Todt. This one is a peach. Not 24 hours after his rival for the FIA presidency Ari Vatanen released his manifesto, Todt releases a statement saying how delighted he is with the response from the key FIA players around the world to his manifesto. He lists a series of tributes, saying how they are behind Todt all the way. There are some big names and clubs there. It’s a very strong message to Vatanen, who has been visiting the F1 paddock in recent weeks, that Todt has put the spade work in More…

Posted on August 21, 2009


Sebastian Vettel will be a Red Bull driver for at least another two seasons, with an option to stay for 2012 as well. The 22 year old German has developed in the last 12 months into one of the sport’s leading drivers and with Red Bull producing a race winning car this year the combination has become very strong. His decision to stay is no great surprise but it is timely as the driver market is starting to really kick in now and this announcement needed to be made to stop any speculation about Vettel’s future. Mark Webber was recently More…

Posted on August 21, 2009


McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh said this morning in Valencia that he is not in discussions with any drivers regarding the seat currently occupied by Heikki Kovalainen. He also talked openly about Fernando Alonso’s expected move to Ferrari and its effect on the driver market. The Finn admitted yesterday that his performances have been disappointing this season, particularly in races and that he has had talks with the team about how he can get more from himself and the car. He has put extra hours in on the simulator ahead of this weekend. Meanwhile Nico Rosberg openly discussed the possibility More…

Posted on August 20, 2009


Today has seen the publication of Ari Vatanen’s FIA presidential manifesto and also a further document on proposed changes to the FIA statutes from his rival for the role, Jean Todt. Both men talk of teamwork, change and transparency. Vatanen goes one stage further and talks of ‘honesty’. The pair worked together at Peugeot in the 1980s, most notably in the Paris Dakar rally, where Todt famously flipped a coin to decide which of his two drivers, Vatanen or Jacky Ickx would win the event. Now they are squaring up for a battle and they are starting to get proactive. More…

Posted on August 20, 2009


Romain Grosjean is the first Frenchman for over 20 years to drive for Renault. It’s a great honour for him and one he’s waited patiently for. I went along to hear what he had to say this afternoon and he seemed very excited about his opportunity, but according to people who have observed him closely, he has some demons which he needs to overcome if he is to make the most of this chance and establish himself as a Renault driver for 2010. Apparently the huge accident he suffered in GP2 at Monaco this year (see below) really rang his More…

Posted on August 20, 2009


Robert Kubica had a wry grin on his face this afternoon when a few of us caught up with him at his press briefing. The Pole has had a couple of weeks to digest the news that his BMW team will not be in F1 next year and this means upheaval and change for him. He knows that it’s a case of what might have been, but he also has to look forwards. Astonishingly the way he heard about the news was first from an internet site which ran a speculative piece before the announcement and then soon after he More…

Posted on August 19, 2009


Another video from McLaren and this one is quite interesting. Lewis Hamilton won the last race in Budapest and was quick all weekend. He had a last minute front wing arrive from the UK on the Saturday morning and this seemed to make the car more stable and here he reveals that they also had a new rear floor on the car. There are more updates for Valencia this weekend and we’ll find out what those are tomorrow. He talks about coming back from holiday and getting ‘back to the grind’, which is pretty hilarious – his idea of grind More…

Posted on August 19, 2009


The FIA has published the reasons behind the decision of the Appeal Court to reduce the one race ban imposed on Renault for the unsafe release of Fernando Alonso’s car in Budapest with a loose wheel. And it seems that four of the team’s main rivals on the grid, Ferrari, McLaren Red Bull and Toyota, helped them by writing letters of support, even outlining that their own pit stop procedures would need to be revised. “It could have happened to any of us” appears to be the message. There is certainly a bit of FOTA unity going on here and More…

Posted on August 18, 2009


Michael Schumacher will attend this weekend’s European Grand Prix at Valencia as part of the Ferrari team. The 40 year old was hoping to race but failed a medical check on his neck. He will be there to support the team and particularly Luca Badoer, with whom Schumacher has had a long friendship. Badoer is substituting for the injured Felipe Massa until further notice. Badoer drove the F60 car at Ferrari’s Fiorano test track this week as part of a promotional filming event. He wasn’t allowed to do more than 100 kilometres in a day and had to use extra More…

Posted on August 18, 2009


Following their success in the FIA appeal court yesterday, the Renault team today confirmed that Romain Grosjean will replace Nelson Piquet from this weekend onwards. Interestingly the statement from Renault makes no bones about the fact that the ex Piquet, now Grosjean seat is occupied by the ‘second driver’. Not all teams like to talk about number one and number two drivers, but Renault clearly feel that with Fernando Alonso in the other car there is no point pretending otherwise. Piquet complained of second class treatment from the team when he lashed out at team principal Flavio Briatore after his More…

Posted on August 17, 2009


Renault today achieved something which doesn’t happen all that often; they successfully appealed a Formula 1 Stewards’ decision. The result is that they will not be banned from this weekend’s Grand Prix in Valencia and the Spanish fans will be able to see Fernando Alonso in all his glory. Remember that he was the pole sitter in Budapest (albeit fairly light on fuel) and we should expect more fireworks from him this weekend, no doubt. We can also expect to have it confirmed that Romain Grosjean will take the place of Nelson Piquet in the second car. This is something More…

Posted on August 16, 2009


Renault will face the International Court of Appeal tomorrow (Monday) in the hope of reducing their one race ban for releasing Fernando Alonso from the pits with an unsafe car in the Hungarian Grand Prix. The stewards threw the book at them after the race for knowingly sending the car out on track in racing conditions with a loose front wheel and making no attempt to stop it. When I first heard about the punishment, it seemed extremely harsh, especially as this kind of thing has happened in the past and no-one got banned for a race for it. On More…

Posted on August 14, 2009


I was on holiday in Italy with my family recently and we went to visit Jarno Trulli’s vineyard, Podere Castorani, which is about an hour outside Pescara on Italy’s Adriatic Coast. The Abruzzo region is Italy’s third most important wine growing region and it has more grapes growing there than there are in the whole of Australia. I’ve been wanting to go there for years, as a big fan of Italian red wines and particularly Jarno’s. He uses Montepulciano grapes and the wines have a lovely rounded taste. Jarno’s grandfather was a wine maker and he spent a lot of More…

Posted on August 13, 2009


Michael Schumacher’s comeback-that-never-was, has drawn the attention in recent days and it was clear looking at his face and his body language at the Geneva press conference how disappointed he was. There was a point to him coming back; Massa, his friend, was injured, Ferrari needed him, they want to finish third in the championship to salvage some respectability from a disappointing season and Schumacher’s presence in the car would have given some much needed airtime and exposure to their sponsors and backers. So it made sense for him to do it from many angles. Sadly the comeback was allowed More…

Posted on August 12, 2009


News Digest by Lawrence Barretto Just two weeks after announcing a shock comeback to Formula One, Michael Schumacher pulled off another surprise yesterday by calling the whole thing off. The German held a press conference this morning where he expressed his disappointment at not being able to race for Ferrari at next weekend’s European Grand Prix in Valencia. Ultimately, he simply couldn’t risk his health. Some in the media questioned the reasons behind Schumacher’s comeback with The Guardian suggesting medical reasons weren’t the only factors in him deciding to pull out of his comeback. “Only Michael Schumacher knows if the More…

Posted on August 11, 2009


Michael Schumacher will not drive the Ferrari at the European Grand Prix on August 23rd, nor at any of the remaining races of 2009. The comeback is officially off. Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo confirmed this morning that test driver Luca Badoer will take his place at Valencia, we will see what will happen at the remaining races. As I posted here last week, Schumacher always said that his comeback was subject to passing medical tests on his neck, which he injured in a motorbike accident earlier this year. Everyone had got terribly carried away with the story and forgotten More…

Posted on August 11, 2009


I was interested to see some quotes from Jenson Button’s race engineer Andrew Shovlin in a story on the BBC website about what the team has done to send it’s 2009 challenger down the wrong path on development. Since Jenson Button’s last win, in Turkey three races ago, he has not featured in the top three in qualifying or the race and the only podium has been Rubens Barrichello’s at Silverstone. Button toiled there, largely it was assumed, because he could not get the tyres up to temperature, but in the final laps he suddenly got on to the pace, More…

Posted on August 9, 2009


If you ever ask the question, “What should I pay for a crash helmet?” invariably you will get the answer, “What’s your head worth?” Felipe Massa’s miracle escape from the incident at the Hungarian Grand Prix, where he was hit on the head by a 500g metal spring at 150mph, is testimony to the strength of the modern F1 crash helmet and makes you realise how invaluable it is. I’ve spoken to a few drivers lately who never really considered being hit on the head until the tragic incident of Henry Surtees and then a week another freak accident, for More…

Posted on August 8, 2009


“No one needed this win more than me,” said McLaren Mercedes team principal Martin Whitmarsh in the immediate aftermath of the win in Budapest. We were standing in the McLaren motorhome, with Michael Jackson’s ‘Bad’ pumping out of the stereo. A pressure release valve had popped off and the team was in the mood for celebration. The team has changed a lot in tone since Whitmarsh took over. There is always a cool playlist on the go whenever you go into their hospitality area, concocted by music loving press officer Steve Cooper. The air of tension which always hung over More…

Posted on August 6, 2009


Following on from the comments from Bernie Ecclestone on Monday that the Canadian Grand Prix will be back on the calendar next year, something the F1 teams are urgently demanding, a story has appeared in the Canadian paper the Globe and Mail with details of the offer on the table. According to the paper’s well informed F1 writer, Jeff Pappone, Ecclestone rowed back a little this week from his initial enthusiasm, saying “We’re doing our best to make sure it happens.” Pappone’s story says that Canadian GP officials met Ecclestone in London two weeks ago with a proposal. The deal More…

Posted on August 6, 2009


Ross Brawn has given an interview to La Gazzetta dello Sport today, from his holiday home in Forte dei Marmi, on the West coast of Italy. He says that he would put money on Jenson Button to win the drivers’ title and Michael Schumacher to win a race before the season’s end and discusses his team’s recent problems, which have lost them ground in the title fight. Brawn was the architect of all of Schumacher’s seven world titles, one of the most unique and successful partnerships in F1 history. “Michael has simply responded to the passion and the bond of More…

Posted on August 6, 2009


Peter Sauber has reacted angrily to the behaviour of BMW in his attempt to rescue the team, following the manufacturer’s decision to withdraw from Formula 1. The team had a deadline of yesterday (Wednesday) to sign the new Concorde Agreement or face the possible loss of TV money and prize money from this year, amounting to tens of millions of dollars. “I negotiated for three days but couldn’t find an agreement with BMW,” said Sauber in La Gazzetta dello Sport. “I’m dismayed, but I’m not giving up, even though now it is more complicated as it will cost many millions More…

Posted on August 6, 2009


There are now two Ferrari drivers working hard to make a comeback, both requiring clearance from medics before they can race again. While Michael Schumacher has a date with the doctors with regard to his neck injury and the slightly more urgent deadline of a race on August 23rd, Felipe Massa has been discharged by doctors in Brazil and is beginning his recuperation at home in Sao Paolo, following his head injury during qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix. His road to recovery will be longer. Yesterday Massa’s doctor, Dino Altmann said, “Felipe has had a remarkable recovery. We did More…

Posted on August 5, 2009


Jean Todt and Team, the catchily named management group assembled by Jean Todt for his run at the FIA presidency in October, has just issued a policy document outlining changes it would make to the way the FIA does things. The most striking thing is that Todt wants to distance himself from direct involvement in Formula 1, by the introduction of a Commissioner for each of the FIA’s world championships. This commissioner would take care of the day to day management of the championship, liaise with the commercial rights holder and teams and sit on the world council. Max Mosley More…

Posted on August 5, 2009


Michael Schumacher’s comeback at the wheel of the Ferrari F60 in Valencia is not a racing certainty according to his spokeswoman, Sabine Kehm. The seven times world champion will go through medical tests on his neck next week, to assess whether a comeback is possible. Schumacher admitted that his neck, which he injured in a motorcycle accident earlier this year, was “pinching” after his test of the 2007 F1 car last week at Mugello. The purpose of that Mugello outing was more physical than anything else and there will be more outings next week. The 2007 car is so different More…

Posted on August 4, 2009


On the Ferrari official website today, under the headline “Indiscretion” we have this choice little item, “Guess who opposed the test with the F60? A team that hasn’t won anything for years and yet didn’t pass over the opportunity to demonstrate once more a lack of spirit of fair play. “Just for the record, the Scuderia Ferrari had given its approval to let Alguersuari test, but it seems even in this instance someone decided to stick to the precise wording of the regulations.” This is clearly a reference to Williams, who last won a race at the end of 2004. More…

Posted on August 4, 2009


War is over, at least for a short while. On Friday night the teams, the FIA and the F1 commercial rights holder signed the new Concorde Agreement, which runs until the end of 2012. With the signature of this agreement stability is returned to F1. There will be no breakaway series, no more new rules being imposed on teams, the F1 commission will be restored, which gives the teams a say in the new rules. It has been an immensely damaging period for the image of the sport, with polemics, breakaway threats and constant instability. Just how damaging will become More…

Posted on August 3, 2009


Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo has spoken about the deal he has cut with Michael Schumacher to make a dramatic and unexpected comeback at the European Grand Prix. Schumacher will replace Felipe Massa, who was discharged to travel home to Brazil today by his Budapest hospital. Speaking in Germany’s Die Welt newspaper today, Montezemolo said that the team does ‘not expect miracles’ from the German, who has not raced an F1 car since the end of 2006. One area that some of the other drivers are concerned about for Schumacher’s sake is the start of the race. The current Ferrari More…

Posted on August 3, 2009


Nelson Piquet’s demise as a Renault driver has been coming for some time. Today he got the bullet and in reaction issued a strongly worded statement about how unfair his treatment has been at the hands of Flavio Briatore, the team’s principal as well as Piquet’s manager. On the face of it his F1 career appears to be over, in the sense that it is hard to see another team taking him on. However there are strong rumours here in Italy that he and his family are looking at taking a stake in an existing team, possibly Sauber, if Peter More…

Posted on August 1, 2009


Michael Schumacher has only been back in Formula 1 for a couple of days and already he’s at the centre of a controversy, albeit one which says more about the state of the sport than about him and Ferrari. Schumacher does not simply have to get back up to speed, he has much to learn about the 2009 cars before he makes his dramatic comeback at the European Grand Prix in Valencia on 23 August. They have adjustable front wings and above all the Ferrari has KERS, which he needs to learn how to use. So Ferrari understandably requested that More…



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