Posted on October 31, 2009


Lewis Hamilton has been in a class of one this weekend and today he looks set to end the season on a real high with a victory at the first Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. If that happens, it will be his third victory in the second half of the season, to go with three podiums; an outcome few would have predicted when the McLaren was two seconds off the pace in the Barcelona test. Hamilton was asked this evening whether he feels that with the car he now has, he could have competed for the world championship and his answer More…

Posted on October 31, 2009


No-one here in on Yas Island this weekend is left in any doubt about the relationship between Ferrari and Abu Dhabi. The team has Mubadala, the Abu Dhabi investment vehicle, as one of its significant partners and the gigantic Ferrari World theme park dominates the skyline next to the circuit. The TV pictures tell a story of a track virtually owned by Ferrari. All of Ferrari’s top brass are here too; president Luca di Montezemolo is here along with Piero Ferrari, Enzo’s son and John Elkann, the nephew of FIAT patriarch Gianni Agnelli. But on track it has been a More…

Posted on October 31, 2009


Lewis Hamilton took a dominant pole position for the first Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in the McLaren, beating the Red Bull of Sebastian Vettel by an enormous 7/10ths of a second. It is Hamilton’s third pole position in the final five races of the season. Mark Webber was third, ahead of Rubens Barrichello and Jenson Button. Hamilton has been the man to beat this weekend, topping most of the session times. It is in the middle sector with its two long straights that the McLaren was untouchable, setting a sector time some 7/10ths of a second faster than his opponents. More…

Posted on October 31, 2009


I sat down with a few others last night to talk to Fernando Alonso, for the last time as a Renault driver. Fernando has his detractors among the public, especially in Britain, but he is always interesting to talk to and has strong things to say. Last night he was on great form, talking about the season past, the disappointment of not being able to fight for the championship, and his prospects of getting to work with Ferrari towards the end of next month, possibly into December. As he came to the Renault hospitality area in the paddock, four women More…

Posted on October 30, 2009


Today the F1 drivers turned their first laps on the new Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi. The general feeling seems to be positive, although most drivers feel that there are too many second gear corners in the final part of the lap. It’s a quick lap here, the average speed is 125 mph and half of the track is straights where the cars are doing 190mph. My impression is that the win will be fought out between Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel and Jenson Button. They finished second third and fourth today in practice behind Heikki Kovalainen. The general feeling More…

Posted on October 30, 2009


Sir Frank Williams has confirmed that his team will use the Cosworth engine next season and is set to announce his driver line up of Rubens Barrichello and Nico Hulkenberg on Monday. All three decisions show that Williams is pointing forwards with confidence. This weekend they have announced a strategic tie up here in the Middle East with the Qatar Science and Technology Park, where Williams will establish a Williams Technology Centre. Two F1 related R&D programmes will be carried out there; one into the flywheel energy regeneration system they have been working on for a couple of years now, More…

Posted on October 30, 2009


USF1, one of four new teams coming into the sport next season, has today confirmed what it has been saying privately for some time, that it will have its European base in Motorland, Aragon, in Spain. “MotorLand Aragon is the ideal motorsports complex for US F1’s European operation,” said Peter Windsor, executive vice president and sporting director of US F1. “From the excellent location and weather, to the rich racing heritage and diverse track configurations, MotorLand provides America’s first Formula One team in more than 40 years with the perfect facility to manage the 2010 season and train for 2011 More…

Posted on October 29, 2009


Nico Rosberg sat down with a few of us this afternoon and promptly came out with the statement that this would be his last race with Williams. It comes as no great surprise to anyone, as he has been strongly linked with a seat at Brawn-Mercedes for months and less strongly linked with McLaren Mercedes. Rosberg’s seat at Williams will be taken by Rubens Barrichello and the received wisdom is that the pair are doing a swap. But Rosberg would not be drawn on where he was going next. “It is my last race for Williams,” he said. “It is More…

Posted on October 29, 2009


The last time Jarno Trulli saw Adrian Sutil before today was when he was screaming at him over their first lap collision in Brazil. Trulli felt that the fault was entirely Sutil’s and today in the press conference at Yas Marina Circuit, the war of words spilled out again – that may well have been the reason why they were placed next to each other… There were quite a few incidents between drivers in Brazil and it looks like it will be a lively drivers’ briefing on Friday. Several drivers have indicated that they want to discuss the Kobayashi/Nakajima collision More…

Posted on October 28, 2009


I’m delighted to announce that on November 27th we will be publishing a book looking back on the 2009 season. It is a review of the goings-on both on and off the circuit in what has certainly been the most action packed season I’ve ever covered. The book is the story of the 2009 season told through the eyes of the James Allen on F1 blog, with updates and extra editorial from me. It has the behind the scenes insights into all the big stories of the year from the F1 breakaway threat and the Renault crash scandal to Ferrari’s More…

Posted on October 28, 2009


Claudio Berro, the former press officer from Ferrari has joined the new Lotus F1 team as sporting director. Berro is one of new FIA president Jean Todt’s closest allies in motorsport, having worked with the Frenchman at Peugeot and Ferrari. More recently he ran the Maserati programme and the Speedcar programme. He is a very well organised and genial individual. Todt has a lot of respect for his abilities. Although primarily an organiser, Todt gave him the vitally important role of head of communications early in his tenure at Ferrari and Berro managed to stop the leaks and get control More…

Posted on October 28, 2009


This weekend spells the end of one of the most extraordinary F1 seasons in living memory. The season was so packed with dramas, scandals, great sporting moments and unexpected outcomes, it feels like we have had five years packed into one. With the final race inevitably come some departures from the sport; a few people know already that this will be their final weekend in F1, others will have it decided for them over the winter. Each team will be shedding a lot of jobs over the coming months as the teams downsize from their bloated pre-credit crunch staffing levels. More…

Posted on October 26, 2009


There has been a lot of talk this week about Jenson Button’s contract talks with the Brawn team. Proving what an unsentimental business this is, the champagne soaked clothes are barely back from the dry cleaners and both sides are publicly playing hardball. It’s a question of who needs who the most. The team have come through a lot together. It was really noticeable on the day the titles were clinched in Brazil that Ross Brawn’s first thoughts were for the employees he had been forced to let go when the team downsized from 700 to 450 in April. Equally, More…

Posted on October 24, 2009


Last week I showed video of the first on-board laps of the new Yas Marina Island circuit in Abu Dhabi. Here’s some footage from the same two seater F1 event, which I have edited up to give an idea of what the spectacle will look like on TV next weekend. The event is set to be the first F1 race to start in daylight and go into the night. I’ve also got some data on the track, from one of the teams. This gives you a bit of an idea what kind of track it is in terms of fuel More…

Posted on October 23, 2009


Max Mosley is no longer the FIA president. Jean Todt has been elected to the role, with a landslide majority and this will mean some major changes in the structure of the body which regulates the F1 world championship. In the end he received almost three times the amount of votes as his rival, Ari Vatanen. Todt had 135 backers, with Vatanen on 49 and there were 12 abstentions. Todt stood on a ticket which emphasized ‘teamwork’ – which is what he was known for as a leader of the Ferrari F1 team during the most successful period in its More…

Posted on October 23, 2009


Donington Park has exactly 96 hours to save it’s British Grand Prix contract and avoid an expensive lawsuit from Bernie Ecclestone’s company, FOM. Yesterday afternoon, news began to filter out that Citigroup, Donington’s advisers on the £135 million bond issue, had withdrawn the bond. There was interest apparently, but not enough and the two week window for getting the bond away proved to be too short, especially with no pre-publicity. It was a high risk investment, but according to sources in the City there were some investors willing to take the risk. “Donington Ventures Leisure Limited can confirm that a More…

Posted on October 23, 2009


The election to find a new FIA president is underway in Paris. The two candidates, Jean Todt and Ari Vatanen are going head to head for the right to succeed Max Mosley. Whoever wins will rule over F1, rallying and many other motor sport disciplines. The vote is being taken by the FIA general assembly, which comprises 221 delegates representing the sporting and mobility clubs from 132 countries around the world. The candidates had 15 minutes each to spell out their vision for the FIA. But the delegates are already well aware of what each stands for as they have More…

Posted on October 22, 2009


Lewis Hamilton handed his champions’ crown to Jenson Button last weekend and in Abu Dhabi will race with the number one on his car for the last time. He is determined to win it back again, as soon as next year, but in the short term he thinks that he and Button could finish 1-2 in the final race – and I think that is a distinct possibility. “He will make a great champion, ” said Hamilton on his website. “I’m proud of what he’s done – both him and his team – and I think he’ll come to Abu More…

Posted on October 21, 2009


The FIA World Motor Sport Council today issued the calendar for next season with some subtle changes on it from the version in circulation recently. There is also confirmation that F1 and other FIA events will change the basis on which the engine formula is devised to an efficiency based, rather than capacity based system. In F1 this new formula is due in 2013 and KERS, or a version of it, will be at the heart of it. Monaco moves forward one week, as I flagged up recently – I learned of it from a hotel over a week ago! More…

Posted on October 20, 2009


Rally champion Sebastien Loeb will not appear behind the wheel of a Toro Rosso next weekend in the F1 season finale in Abu Dhabi, it has been announced. According to colleagues in the French media, Loeb has not been able to get a superlicence and so cannot race. Despite being a five times world rally champion and a competitor in the Le Mans 24 hours, Loeb has not fulfilled the criteria for qualification, such as victories in GP2 or success in a national F3 series. This seems a little unfair given that F1 drivers like Kimi Raikkonen are allowed to More…

Posted on October 19, 2009


After a period of quiet reflection, disgraced former Renault F1 boss Flavio Briatore is not taking his lifetime ban lying down and today (Monday) filed a civil law suit against the FIA in Paris. He has been given a date of November 24th for the hearing. This extraordinary season of F1 still clearly has plenty of twists and turns in store before it comes to an end, with the FIA presidential election later this week, Max Mosley stepping down as president soon after and plenty of developments to come on the driver market and among the new teams. Briatore is More…

Posted on October 19, 2009


Jarno Trulli did another solid job in qualifying this weekend, fourth on the grid, one of a handful of drivers to judge the changeable conditions perfectly. In the race he was a furious early retirement after a collision with Adrian Sutil. And things are not going smoothly behind the scenes either in his negotiations with Toyota for a new contract. Toyota F1 president John Howett is on record as saying that it is looking unlikely that, despite an offer on the table, Trulli will stay with the team and this weekend Trulli explained the background to the situation, “I have More…

Posted on October 18, 2009


Jenson Button has made himself hoarse with shouting and celebrating his world championship victory, giving endless interviews. He claims that today’s race was the best of his career to date, ” This was my best race I’ve driven in my life, I know because of the emotion that’s involved in it, but also because I knew what I had to do – I did it, and that is why I am sat up here as world champion, ” he said. ” I am going to enjoy this moment very much. The people around me have been so supportive. I might More…

Posted on October 18, 2009


A fantastic Brazilian Grand Prix ended with Red Bull’s Mark Webber taking the victory, his second of the season, but Jenson Button won the world championship, ironically finishing the race in fifth place, the result that did it for Lewis Hamilton last season. He becomes the tenth British driver to win the F1 world championship. Robert Kubica finished second with the drive of the day and Lewis Hamilton had a storming drive from the back of the grid to finish third. Brawn won the constructors’ world championship in their first season as an F1 team. The team, formerly Honda, almost More…

Posted on October 17, 2009


An epic qualifying session ended with Rubens Barrichello on pole position for tomorrow’s Brazilian Grand Prix. Heavy rain delayed the start of the sessions and then there were red flags for accidents and incidents as well. Championship leader Jenson Button starts 14th after another nightmare session. He did not have the edge left in his tyres when the track was at its fastest and he missed the cut for the top ten shootout. So it is advantage Barrichello. The Brazilian needs to score five points more that Button tomorrow to take the fight to the final race in Abu Dhabi. More…

Posted on October 16, 2009


Outgoing FIA president Max Mosley has issued two official press statements today on behalf of the FIA, heavily critical of one of the candidates to replace him, Ari Vatanen. With the election exactly one week away, Vatanen is being depicted as a divisive an destabilising figure, who doesn’t really know what he’s doing, whereas Jean Todt is being portrayed as the ‘harmony candidate’ as well as the leader with the right qualities and experience. It is now quite clear that Vatanen feels that next week’s election will not be conducted fairly. The format is a secret ballot and Vatanen has More…

Posted on October 16, 2009


Renault’s Fernando Alonso ended the second practice session fastest, on a chilly day at Interlagos. The Spaniard, who had spent most of the session in the bottom half of the time sheets, clocked a time of 1m 12.314, 5/100ths of a second faster than last year’s pole time set by Felipe Massa. It is likely that the time, set at the end of the session, was done on low fuel and new tyres, as he often has on Fridays this season. Many of the front runners did not do low fuel runs at the end of the session. Massa, who More…

Posted on October 16, 2009


There is a postscript today to the story of Nelson Piquet and the Singapore crash fixing scandal. Nelson’s father has spoken to Gazzetta dello Sport’s Pino Allievi about the background to the story and it makes very interesting reading. He has no sympathy for Renault boss Flavio Briatore, who has been banned from motorsport for life, “He deserved it,” says Piquet. “Admittedly it wasn’t his idea, but to convince a young driver to do something like that is huge. He should stay far away from racing.” Piquet reveals that he was keen to move his son on from Renault at More…

Posted on October 15, 2009


Felipe Massa is playing an interesting game at the moment, with regards to his team mate for next season, Fernando Alonso. First at a lunch for Brazilian journalists yesterday in Sao Paolo, he claimed that Alonso must have known about the Singapore crash plot, even though he was cleared of involvement by the FIA, “Fernando knew, ” he said. “Of course he knew, I’m 100% certain of that. In a team it is impossible not to know the strategy of the other driver.” Many of the drivers say the same thing privately, but have not wanted to say it publicly. More…

Posted on October 14, 2009


Here is something a little bit special; the first on-board camera laps of the circuit which will host the final round of this year’s world championship – the Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi. Even the F1 teams haven’t seen this material yet – and they will want to because there are some amazing features, not least the pit lane exit, which is a tunnel with a corner in it! The track is 3.45 miles long and has 21 corners. It’s going to be quite tough on brakes as it has four big stop zones, where the cars come down More…

Posted on October 14, 2009


Following on from Jean Todt’s letter yesterday criticising the negative campaigning of his rival Ari Vatanen, the Finn has done an interview in today’s Gazzetta dello sport in which he calls for a “complete clean up” of the FIA. Vatanen claims that 70% of the mobility clubs and ‘around half’ of the sporting clubs are on his side. “Me and my team believe that we have more than half of the votes. We are giving people hope and they are grasping it” he says. “The majority of clubs feel the need for a new FIA, more democratic, which takes care More…

Posted on October 14, 2009


Simon Gillett’s Donington Ventures group has gone on a last chance dash to the City to try to raise £135 million to save its British Grand Prix deal. The company is basically looking for a 7 year loan of £135 million and is offering to pay 15% interest on investors’ capital, plus a 5% bonus. The offer document says that the money is “to fund redevelopment, repay existing debt, fund working capital, prefund interest on the notes and pay amounts due to the landlord under the lease.” The interest payments Donington would be liable for would be £20 million per More…

Posted on October 13, 2009


FIA presidential hopeful Jean Todt has sent out a statement to the membership of the FIA clubs today underlining his policy ideas and attacking his rival Ari Vatanen for using dirty tricks and personal attacks in his campaign. With the election now just over a week away, the tone and meaning of Todt’s message is interesting. His point is that he has sought all along to conduct a dignified campaign, whereas he feels Vatanen has been very negative about the FIA, what it stands for today and has gone around belittling what it has achieved in order to stand out More…

Posted on October 13, 2009


The Brazilian Grand Prix is always a hard one to predict, just ask Lewis Hamilton. But when rain is forecast, anything can happen. And this weekend is not looking great. Showers are forecast for Friday and Saturday and on race day they are talking about thunderstorms. On each day there is a 60% chance of rain. Last year the rain played havoc with the race and set us up for one of the most thriling climaxes to a Grand Prix in years. It started to rain in the closing stages and the front-runners didn’t want to take any chances so More…

Posted on October 12, 2009


Today Felipe Massa did his first laps in a Formula 1 car since the horrific accident in July, which threatened his career. The Brazilian drove a privately owned 2007 car, fitted with Bridgestone GP2 tyres and covered 100kms on the team’s Fiorano test track, next to the factory in Maranello. He will do more laps tomorrow. Ferrari described it as ‘not a proper test’, rather as ‘a way to regain confidence with his natural habitat; the racetrack.’ But Massa’s return is a victory in itself. He has overcome a savage accident which had the potential not only to destroy his More…

Posted on October 11, 2009


Ferrari has put out a statement confirming that Felipe Massa will drive an F2007 Ferrari tomorrow at its Fiorano test track, but has stressed that together with the team, Massa has come to the conclusion that his best interests would be served by not trying to race again this season at the final event in Abu Dhabi. I have to say that this looks like a smart move. Prior to flying over to Europe a week ago, Massa was reported by Brazilian colleagues to be determined to drive in the final race. But having undergone some training and two days More…

Posted on October 11, 2009


Timo Glock will miss the Brazilian Grand Prix next weekend after medical checks revealed that he cracked a vertebra in his huge qualifying accident in Japan. Glock had a gash on his his leg following his accident, but according to a Toyota team statement, “subsequent medical checks in Germany have revealed a cracked vertebra. Doctors have therefore ruled him out of this weekend’s race.” This is slightly surprising as one would imagine that the FIA medics would have wanted him X rayed in Japan after such a massive accident and an injury like this would surely have been picked up. More…

Posted on October 11, 2009


No-one could accuse Bernie Ecclestone of failing to give Donington Park a decent chance of hosting the British Grand Prix. But now it seems that the 79 year old’s patience is running out as the circuit once again failed to meet a deadline to produce a bank guarantee. Ecclestone had given Donington chief executive Simon Gillett an extra week past the agreed 28th September deadline, but on Friday night that expired. There is concern that the circuit will not be able to raise the £145 million it needs and in any case time is running out to build the infrastructure. More…

Posted on October 10, 2009


I’ve picked out a couple of Darren Heath’s images from Japan to write a short post about as they offer a nice behind the scenes insight. Some of you may be familiar with these things but others might appreciate it. In this first picture, you can see the timing page 1 from the official FOM timing system. This is different and more detailed than the page you see on the F1.com website, which only gives lap times to the nearest tenth of a second and does not give the last lap time on the right. I always prefered looking at More…

Posted on October 10, 2009


Felipe Massa came through the first day of medical tests in Paris yesterday, with the doctors confirming that his eyesight has not be affected by the accident he suffered in July when he was hit in the forehead with a 700 gramme metal spring. “Today Felipe Massa started a series of neurological and ophthalmological exams by the FIA at the Pitié Salpetrière hospital in Paris, ” announced Ferrari, “Part of the Brazilian driver’s recovery programme after the accident in Budapest on 25 July. Today’s exams ended at 7:30pm and will restart tomorrow afternoon. The first outcomes are positive: especially the More…

Posted on October 8, 2009


There has been a lot of talk about the US F1 team lately, including Bernie Ecclestone suggesting that the team might not make it onto the grid next season. Many existing teams in the F1 paddock seem to be sceptical as well. There have been rumours that the factory is empty, that they have had little contact with Cosworth, that one of the sponsors didn’t materialise and the team are well behind. As I posted the other day, the Sauber team is watching the situation carefully because its only chance of getting a slot on the grid next year is More…

Posted on October 7, 2009


Disgraced former Renault team boss Flavio Briatore will learn tomorrow (Thursday) whether he is to face exclusion from football as well as motor sport. Briatore was banned from motorsport for life by the FIA last month for his part in the Renault race fixing scandal at last year’s Singapore Grand Prix. Now the Football League is set to meet to decide whether the 59 year old meets the ‘fit and proper person’ rule for team ownership. Briatore’s other great sporting passion is football. Since February 2008 he has been a DIrector and major shareholder of Queens Park Rangers, along with More…

Posted on October 7, 2009


Robert Kubica has brushed aside concerns over the Renault cheating scandal and has put his faith in the team, signing for next season. As one of the most highly rated drivers in F1, he had a choice of seats for next year, but he has gone with Renault. The Pole has been figuring out what would be his best option since BMW’s shock announcement of withdrawal from F1 in July. His manager, Daniele Morelli is a very smart man and has a good radar for F1 trends and developments. A month or so ago, I thought Williams was Kubica’s favourite More…

Posted on October 7, 2009


The Sauber team faces an uncertain future as the rest of the F1 teams voted at the weekend not to allow a 14th team on the grid next year. The Malaysian-backed Lotus team was handed the coveted 13th slot on the same day as BMW announced that it had sold the team to Qadbak, a mysterious investment group with Swiss and Arab investors. One of the names in the Qadbak set up is Russell King, who was once involved with Jenson Button’s management and who has had several abortive attempts to do deals with McLaren to set up a team More…

Posted on October 6, 2009


Mark Webber’s Japanese Grand Prix looked like a bit of a write-off; he finished last, two laps behind his team mate who won the race in the same car. But it could turn out to have been a very worthwhile afternoon. The Australian crashed on Saturday morning, doing enough damage to his car for it to be scrapped and this meant he had to miss qualifying and start the race from the pit lane. He was back into the pits twice in the first few laps to fix a loose headrest. From then on his race was a test session. More…

Posted on October 6, 2009


Felipe Massa arrived back at Maranello yesterday, some two months after the accident which threatened his career. The Brazilian is anxious to get back into a car and race again as soon as possible, but team boss Stefano Domenicali, who managed to beat most of the F1 paddock back to Europe by at least half a day, said again that the team is “not in a hurry” Massa understandably wants to re-establish himself solidly at the team before Fernando Alonso arrives. The date of Alonso’s release from Renault has not yet been decided, but Ferrari would like it to be More…

Posted on October 5, 2009


Sebastian Vettel’s win at Suzuka hasn’t exactly brought the championship to life, because it is still very much Jenson Button’s to lose, but it has brought it to within a range which is achievable. Kimi Raikkonen turned around a 17 point deficit in 2007 and Vettel now trails by 16. With memories of 2007 still so fresh, a psychological barrier has been crossed. Neither of the remaining races will be straightforward. Lewis Hamilton has two years’ experience of how unpredictable the race in Brazil can be and then we have the great unknown in Abu Dhabi, which looks like a More…

Posted on October 4, 2009


More is beginning to emerge about the comeback plan of Felipe Massa. The Brazilian arrives in Italy tomorrow for two weeks of physical training, evaluation and preparation. Ferrari say that he will go on the simulator in the factory, to test out his reactions and get back into the swing of things. “Our main target is to make sure that everything is okay from the physical point of view,” said team boss Stefano Domenicali. “We asked the FIA to make sure that there is no breach of the sporting and testing regulations. This gave us clearance to do the test. More…

Posted on October 4, 2009


Sebastian Vettel drove a totally dominant race to win the Japanese Grand Prix, ahead of Jarno Trulli and Lewis Hamilton. It was Vettel’s fourth victory and the third of this season. Vettel took the lead from pole position, taking a very assertive line into Turn 1 to stop Hamilton, using the KERS on the McLaren to good effect, from passing. Hamilton was able to jump Trulli for second and from then on he drove an incredible race, fighting throughout to get the position back. He achieved it at the second pit stops. A substantial late accident by Jaime Alguersuari in More…

Posted on October 4, 2009


Timo Glock will miss the Japanese Grand Prix today following his heavy accident in qualifying. The Toyota driver suffered a 5cm cut in the back of his left leg. Doctors on Sunday morning advised him against racing. This is a blow for Toyota, who ran Kamui Kobayashi on Friday in the practice session as Glock was reported to be suffering from flu. Toyota applied for Kobayashi to be given dispensation to race, but this was rejected because a driver must compete on the second day of a GP meeting. Everyone in the F1 paddock has been trying to work out More…

Posted on October 3, 2009


Jenson Button has been moved back five places on the grid for not observing the yellow flags warning him of debris on the circuit. Not ideal, but he is quite calm about it because his team mate Rubens Barrichello got the same penalty for the same offence. No-one has the slightest idea of exactly where on the grid he will start; estimates vary from 9th to 12th, depending on how you calculate it. So little changes between them and Button can watch his team mate closely in the race. Even without the penalties it was another less than perfect qualifying More…

Posted on October 3, 2009


The stewards have made a decision on the drivers who failed to observe the yellow flags during qualifying in Suzuka today. We have just been told that there is to be a five place drop on the grid for Jenson Button, Rubens Barrichello, Fernando Alonso, Adrian Sutil and Sebastien Buemi. In an unrelated matter, it seems that Heikki Kovalainen may have to move back five places also due to the need to change gearbox after an accident. Button and Barrichello are due to speak shortly. Ross Brawn confirmed that neither lifted for the yellow flags which were put out to More…

Posted on October 3, 2009


Sebastian Vettel took pole position for the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka on a day when qualifying was stopped three times for accidents. Jarno Trulli took a very strong second place for Toyota and Lewis Hamilton a rather surprising third for McLaren, given that the team wasn’t expecting to go well here. The Brawn drivers were fifth and seventh and it looks like they have fuelled the cars heavily anticipating that they will be given a penalty and moved back down the grid after a stewards’ enquiry. Jenson Button did not slow down at the end of Q2, when yellow More…

Posted on October 3, 2009


Jarno Trulli set the fastest time in the final practice session before qualifying for the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka. The veteran Italian was down the time sheets until his final run, which looked like a low fuel qualifying simulation. No many drivers did one of those; Nico Rosberg, Romain Grosjean certainly did. It was a frantic session, because yesterday was largely lost to rain. The teams and drivers had to get a lot of set up work done in just one hour for both qualifying and the race. Sebastien Buemi in the Toro Rosso led the way for much More…

Posted on October 3, 2009


Toyota’s John Howett has been doing a bit of firefighting in the last couple of days after his team principal Tadashi Yamashina was quoted as saying that the company’s future in F1 was ‘unclear’. Toyota has been dogged by rumours that it may pull out at the end of the season. Earlier this year there was a political dimension to this; it suited some people to cast doubt on Toyota’s commitment. Generally there is no doubt that the sudden withdrawals of Honda last Christmas and BMW this summer have dented confidence within F1 circles in the manufacturers’ assurances of participation. More…

Posted on October 3, 2009


Ari Vatanen has hit back against Max Mosley’s claims that he will ‘lose and lose badly’ in the FIA presidential elections later this month. Speaking to the Guardian newspaper he said that he now has over half the votes and believes that the tide is turning in his favour, “It happens in smaller elections too and this is a Barack Obama thing happening: we believe we have more than half of the votes already and there is a tendency the tide has turned,” Vatanen said. “The [Todt] camp has been very faithful to tactics [Mosley has] employed over the years. More…

Posted on October 2, 2009


Lewis Hamilton had his first taste of Suzuka today, a track which he admits he has always dreamed of racing on. A lot of this has to do with his great admiration for Ayrton Senna. Hamilton has a yellow crash helmet styled after Senna’s and is well aware that many of the most iconic moments in the Brazilian’s career happened here, like the championship -deciding collisions with Alain Prost in 1989 and 1990. Hamilton is unusual among drivers in having a pretty good knowledge of and interest in, F1 history. Even though it was a bit of a washout today, More…

Posted on October 2, 2009


Michael Schumacher has posted a short quote on his website saying that Ferrari’s move to hire Fernando Alonso has his full backing and, what’s more, he was in on it from the start. “Fernando with Ferrari, that’s something I like a lot. I was involved from the very beginning in this decision, and I always liked the idea. I am sure Fernando will feel well with us, and I can only say: Welcome, Fernando!” Much has been made of the apparent strain in relations between the two following their intense battle for the 2006 world championship. Alonso was very angry More…

Posted on October 2, 2009


The Guardian newspaper is reporting that FIA president Max Mosley has sent a stern letter to Prince Feisal, of the Jordanian Royal family, warning that the candidate he supports in the FIA election later this month ‘will lose and lose badly’. Prince Feisal has been nominated by Vatanen as one of his vice presidents on the sporting side. The gloves are now well and truly off in the fight to be elected Mosley’s successor. The support of Prince Feisal was quite a decisive win for Ari Vatanen and could change the dynamic of the Middle East quite considerably. Mosley is More…

Posted on October 2, 2009


Felipe Massa has hit out on Brazilian TV, claiming that he was ‘robbed’ of last year’s drivers world title because Renault cheated. “All of what happened was robbery – but regarding the race nothing has happened, the result remains the same. This is not right. The robbery changed the outcome of a championship and I lost (the title),” Massa says that the result of the race should be annulled, which would mean that Lewis Hamilton would lose the six points he gained for his third place finish and Massa would be world champion. Massa compares the situation to the Italian More…

Posted on October 1, 2009


There was quite a bit of relief on all sides today that we were finally able to talk to Fernando Alonso about being a Ferrari driver and get proper answers out of him, instead of ‘Wait and see”. To listen to him and Ferrari boss Stefano Domenicali today, we were told that they had agreed a deal during the summer for Alonso to come to the team in 2011, but then when Renault got themselves embroiled in the Singapore carsh fixing scandal, the opportunity opened up to make the move a year early. Alonso said, “Something wonderful changed,” which hardly More…

Posted on October 1, 2009


Today has been a very interesting day in the Suzuka paddock. It was one of those days when there is a real buzz in the air and some paddock theatre going on. With the announcement last night of Kimi Raikkonen’s removal from Ferrari and Fernando Alonso’s arrival, it was clear that their respective press briefings and the one of Ferrari boss Stefano Domenicali were going to be interesting. Kimi looked rather crestfallen today, as you would expect, but he was very dignified in the way he carried himself publicly. He did not criticise the team and they did not criticise More…

Posted on October 1, 2009


The Alonso to Ferrari move has energised the driver market and it looks like we are going to have some very strong line-ups for next year. Whoever wins the next couple of world championships will really have deserved them because the competition is going to be intense. I’ve been thinking through the rationale behind some of the likely next driver moves I posted about this week. Raikkonen to McLaren This one struck me as odd, as regular readers will know, because firstly I didn’t see why the team would need another ‘ace’, second I wonder if they could handle the More…



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